Halftime Show Features Talents of Extraordinary Student
Who: Paschal High School senior Kendall Walker will perform with the award-winning Paschal Color Guard team. Kendall, who has Down Syndrome, is enrolled in special education. Kendall has been a member of the color guard for her four years of high school.
What: Paschal High School Band and Color Guard will perform “The Raven,” their football half time show. This is the last home game during which the band and color guard will perform the halftime show and the last time Kendall will perform “The Raven” at a football game.
When: Thursday, Oct 26; band and color guard arrive at the stadium at 6 p.m.; color guard cheers on the field at 6:40 p.m.; color guard cheers from stands at 7 p.m. game time and takes the field again for the half-time show; color guard cheers in the stands the remainder of the game, which concludes around 10 p.m. Kendall will be with the color guard and band at each of these times. Kendall will perform in the first and third movements (out of four) in the halftime show; she is the first solo dancer in the third movement.
Where: Farrington Field, 1501 N. University Dr., Fort Worth, 76107
For more information: Jackie Ferguson, band mom and Paschal High School PTA – PR volunteer, 817-691-3635 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Paschal High School has an award-winning band and color guard team. Their success is the result of countless hours of practice to perfect their carefully choreographed show. Every student is dedicated to bringing their personal best to each performance, including senior Kendall Walker.
Kendall has been a member of the color guard throughout high school. Like her team mates, she tries out for a spot in the half time show every year. But unlike her team mates, Kendall auditions with the added challenge of performing with Down syndrome.
Kendall’s father, Tracy Walker, said his daughter has embraced the color guard experience. “Kendall is a natural performer,” he said “She loves being in front of the crowd. She loves to dance.”
Paschal Director of Bands Bryan Wright has had Kendall during her entire time in high school. “Kendall fits right in with our band,” he said. “She has a wonderful and outgoing personality and brings that positive attitude out in all who interact with her.”
Kendall’s attitude, personality, and dedication will be on full display during this Thursday’s half-time show. The band and color guard will perform “The Raven,” a show based on Edgar Allen Poe’s poem. Kendall earned spots in two of the four movements in the show. It will be the last time she will perform the routine at a football game.
Kendall is part of a band family that includes an older brother who was a student with Mr. Wright when he was at Paschal. “Kendall was able to watch the band and learn what it was all about,” Mr. Wright said. “When it was her time to come to Paschal, she was an immediate fit.”
That natural fit is also the result of a strong partnership between Kendall’s family and the school’s band program. “I've always wanted people to have a glimpse of how inclusion like this can work,” Mr. Walker said. “Mr. Wright really embraced the idea of having Kendall in the band and he assured us there would be a place for her. The color guard turned out to be that place. Kendall being an equal member of the band is really important to us. We are very fortunate to have developed this partnership.”
Kendall’s final half-time performance comes at a natural time as well. October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, which provides this unique opportunity for Kendall’s family and her school to celebrate the abilities and accomplishment of people with Down syndrome.
Kendall’s other accomplishments include earning a letter jacket for her color guard work. She has attended marching band camps and color guard camps all four years of high school. “She went into color guard without any formal training,” her father said. “Everything she has learned about dance, flag work, and gymnastics has been through guard. Color Guard Director Gary Locke, his assistants, and all of the current and former guard students have had a part in teaching Kendall.”
Mr. Walker said Kendall has an active extra-curricular schedule. “She has been a member of the Junior Varsity winter guard each year and the plan is for her to be on this year's team as well,” he said “The winter guard participates in solo and ensemble competition at the end of each season. Kendall has received a Superior Rating of 1 each of the last three years.”
Kendall also competes in bowling for Special Olympics, and she is on track to graduate with her classmates in 2018. Her parents are exploring college options so Kendall can continue to grow academically and socially.
But first, Kendall will take the field for her last football half-time show. Her parents and brother will be there to cheer her on, as will the rest of her band family.
“Having Kendall in the band has been a highlight of my career,” Mr. Wright said. “I am a firm believer in providing a meaningful experience for all students. Being able to provide Kendall with so many positive experiences and memories has been an honor.”