For back-to-back years in 2021 & 2022, Grace Community School is the Henderson Cup Champion for the overall state championship given by the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS). This annual award is presented to the school that earns the most points in 27 TAPPS competitions in a given school year. TAPPS competitions include three areas: academics, fine arts, and athletics. This is the third time Grace has won the Henderson Cup in the 5A classification, the 5th time overall, and Grace is the only school in East Texas to win the Henderson Cup in this division.
“What I love about the Henderson Cup is that it’s a collaborative, all-school award. It represents the collective effort of most of our students, coaches, teachers, and massive support of parents and administrators. One of our core values is ‘Life as Worship,’ and we seek to glorify the Lord in all we do. We hope his name will be praised through this honor,” said Jay Ferguson, Ph.D., Head of School at Grace Community School.
With 90 total points, Grace Community School finished first, followed by Lutheran South Academy in Houston with 79 points in second place, and Grapevine Faith Christian School in Fort Worth with 66.5 points in third place. In the TAPPS 5A classification, Grace competed against 35 other schools to receive this prestigious honor. Achieving this high award illustrates the well-rounded students at Grace who excel in multiple aspects of high school. In the TAPPS Academic and Speech categories, this year’s highlights include Grace students placing in ready writing, current events, literary criticism, science, calculator, Lincoln Douglas debate, and duet acting.
“This is such an honor and reflects Grace’s commitment to the whole student,” said Lanny Witt, Principal at Grace Community High School. “We are so blessed to have a student body who is so involved and committed to a variety of programs, not just academics, athletics, or the arts. Our students glorify the Lord in so many ways and it’s great for them to be recognized for their sacrifice and dedication in multiple arenas.”
Fine Arts started the year strong in the fall with excellent showings from the music and theater programs. The drum line earned State Champion for the 7th time, while the field band placed second for the second year in a row. In the state one-act play contest, Grace’s production placed second with several individual honors, including Best Actress.
In the spring competition, Grace choir program earned Vocal State Champion for the tenth year running. Every vocal entry – seventeen solos, nine ensembles, and three large choirs earned first division ratings. For the first time, the band with contributions from the drum line was the State Champion, and the orchestra earned second place for the second year in a row.
The Grace art and film program won third place at state and doubled its honors from last year with 25 placings including two first place films and first in Communication Design. Art and film also received five second place and four third place winnings among other placings in drawing, painting, ceramics and various other categories.
“It’s been great to see our fine arts programs this year carry on a legacy of excellence and continue to flourish and to see our students’ commitment to their personal artistry as well as to our arts ensembles, ” said Delisa Bice, Fine Arts Director at Grace Community School.
The Grace Lady Cougars finished third overall in the state in swimming, cross country, and cheer, and fourth overall in the state in track and field. They won team regional championships in track and field and swimming and district championships in cross country, golf, and track and field. The Lady Cougars also placed second in district in basketball. Lady Cougar volleyball, basketball, soccer, and softball advanced to the area round of the TAPPS 5A state playoffs and golf qualified for the regional championships. The Lady Cougars tennis team sent two players to the TAPPS State Championships.
The Cougars were the runners-up for the swimming state championship and finished eighth in the state in track and field. They won a regional championship in swimming and finished as the regional runners-up in track and field. The Cougars won district championships in track and field and finished as the district runners-up in cross country. Cougar football and soccer advanced to the area round of the TAPPS 5A state playoffs, while baseball advanced to bi-district, and the tennis team sent one player to the TAPPS State Championships.
“It’s incredible to win this award back to back,” said Joseph Walker, Ed.D., Athletic Director at Grace Community School. “I just couldn’t be more proud of our student-athletes and coaches. It was different than last time as the year unfolded, but so exciting to see how our kids performed in so many areas.”
Since 1999, the inception of Grace High School, Grace Community School has finished in the top six in the TAPPS Henderson Cup Competition in its classification every year except one. Grace Community School has won the Henderson Cup five times: 2022 (5A), 2021 (5A), 2017 (5A), 2002 (4A), and 1999 (3A). Grace has also finished as the runner-up four times: 2019 (5A), 2018 (5A), 2016 (5A), and 2009 (4A).