Special ed booster marks first year

Vandegrift students worked with students in the special education department to assemble “Boo Bags” that were sold at Cups & Cones, benefiting Lake Travis Christmas Hope. The Viper Special Education Department Booster Club created this opportunity.

By HADLEY HUDSON
Four Points News

The Viper Special Education Department Booster Club has just celebrated its first year as a nonprofit after forming to support and raise awareness for local students in special education.

“There has always been a silent support group among the parents of the students in SPED and I felt like if we organized ourselves we could be more effective in making change in the program,” SPED booster club president Lisa Dennis said.

The group wanted changes for their kids instead of complaining about things or wishing something could be done.

“We knew we had the support from the teachers here and we thought that if we organized ourselves then we could be a lot more helpful and take a proactive role and facilitate in our kids being more successful at school,” Dennis said.

The booster club has organized multiple events over the course of the year at places such as Cups & Cones. Students in special education participated in monthly work-days that began last November, and the students also sold self-made goods at the store as well.

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Local 7th grader with autism shines on basketball team

Kevin and Nicole Evans didn’t give up on team sports after their son, Connor, was diagnosed with a form of autism and the doctor told them their son wouldn’t be able to play sports.

By RICKY WILSON
SportsEngine

To understand the beauty of basketball, and team sports, one only has to look at the impact it had on Connor Evans — he’s entering 7th grade at Canyon Ridge MS and he is 6-foot in bare feet. Connor uses team sports to help him overcome challenges.

At two-and-a-half years old, Connor was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified or PDD-NOS. It is a form of autism which inhibits a person’s communication and motor skills development. In addition, he also suffered from Sensory Processing Disorder, which affects how the nervous system receives, processes and responds to sensory information.

His parents, Kevin and Nicole Evans, were told that he wouldn’t be able to play team sports, but they were determined to not let that happen.

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Dossey begins 2nd golf season at Baylor

Cooper Dossey, incoming college sophomore, says his golf experience at Vandegrift helped prepare him to play on the Baylor University team.

Wins golf titles in first year

By CARSON FIELD
Four Points News

The Vandegrift boys’ golf program currently has four former players playing at the collegiate level, and one of them helped lead his team to the National Collegiate Athletic Association match-play quarterfinals.

“The best highlights from my freshman year were reaching the No. 1 ranking as a team, making match-play at the NCAA’s, and winning my first collegiate tournament,” said Cooper Dossey, Baylor University incoming sophomore on the golf team.

Dossey was a four-year varsity golfer for Vandegrift in his high school career and was a part of the team’s three state championships in a row. He owns six program records, including low individual total and career wins.

While he started golfing years before high school, Dossey said his time at Vandegrift helped him rise to the level he is at today.

“My four years at Vandegrift helped me in a lot of ways, but the two most important were playing for Coach Wernecke and competing with each guy on the team,” Dossey said. “Coach Wernecke is one of the best high school coaches in the country, and he believed in me since day one. My teammates pushed me everyday, and that helped me be more competitive.”

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36% of VHS graduates offered scholarships

By KIM ESTES
Four Points News

More than one-third of the Vandegrift High School Class of 2017 reported receiving scholarship offers, which when totaled top $19 million in academic, athletic, fine arts, military academy and community awards. Specifically, 192 of 538 graduates, or some 36 percent, received awards, said Amy Rodriguez, lead counselor at VHS.

However, Leander ISD officials said the data could be incomplete.

“In the past, scholarship reporting has been an inaccurate process since students have to self-report. Some are really good about telling their counselors how much they’ve earned in scholarships, others aren’t,” said Jennifer Bailey, senior communications specialist with LISD.

Also of note, offers do not represent what has been accepted. For instance, in early June at VHS, 148 students accepted $7.31 million of the total awards.

“We’re always going to have greater offers than acceptance because students apply to multiple schools but enroll in one,” noted Steve Clark, LISD director of counseling.

As to total reported overtures, district-wide this year’s graduates received $55.1 million in scholarship offers. That is $7 million more than last year when LISD graduates reported $48 million in offers, said Clark.

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