Six local schools perform well at DI Global Finals

Six Destination Imagination teams from Vandegrift, Canyon Ridge and Steiner Ranch Elementary competed alongside 8,000 students from 15 different countries at the Global Destination Imagination competition at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn in May.

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Viper wind ensemble named TMEA State Honor Band

The Vandegrift wind ensemble recording at the Round Top Festival on May 4 was so good that the band was named 6A state champion by the Texas Music Educators Association.

By KRISTEN HILL, Contributor

The Vandegrift wind ensemble was recently named the 2018 Texas Music Educators Association 6A State Champion in concert band. This is one of the top honors a band can receive in the entire country, and it is the first time in Leander ISD history that a 6A Band has been named state honor band.

Director Mike Howard shared with the band family via email, “On a personal note, I’m in complete shock and excitement that our band community has received this unbelievably prestigious honor. I, honestly, can’t put into words how proud I am of the students and staff for this accomplishment.”

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Vandegrift student teaches Code Chicks camp

Fifteen 4th and 5th grade girls enjoyed a week of “Code Chicks,” a coding seminar, taught by Amelia Nickerson, rising Vandegrift junior. Funding for the camp was underwritten by a grant awarded to Nickerson from the National Center for Women & Information Technology.

“I chose to apply for the NCWIT AspireIT grant to teach girls how to code, because when I was in elementary school, I never had the opportunity to pursue my curiosity in technology,” said Nickerson. “When I got that opportunity in high school, I wanted to share my passion.”

Once Nickerson was awarded the national grant, she obtained the required local, nonprofit sponsorship from Viper Nation Education Foundation. Code Chicks aligns with the VNEF mission to support academic programs through private donations.

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Another body recovered in Lake Travis

LT searches are challenging


Search and recovery operations are difficult in most lakes but Lake Travis adds its own set of challenges. Case in point is this summer season where the popular lake has had five swimmers reported missing, and so far three bodies have been recovered.

The most recent presumed accidental drowning on Lake Travis happened on July 28. Luke Fashaw, 36 of San Antonio, was swimming and had gone under water and not resurfaced near Devil’s Hollow, said Kristen Dark, Travis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson.

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