Amelia says, “Something that I’ve loved about GPFAA is the sense of community. I’ve met many amazing friends and teachers/ directors that really do make me feel at home and like I’m truly cared for.” She continues, “From GPFAA, I have learned that if I have enough motivation and inspiration to achieve something, then I can do so.”
Art Director Lena Rodriguez says, “Amelia is an outstanding young lady and artist. She has a creatively brave spirit and is loved and respected by those around her. She works incredibly hard at doing her best within her academics, art, and personal life. Her resilience and ability to work through life’s challenges is one of admiration. It has been a true honor getting to work with her and her on her journey as an artist.”
Next year Amelia plans to attend the University of Texas at Arlington for fine arts and business.
Gio says he has enjoyed the academic competitiveness at GPFAA. “No matter how hard you try and what effort you give, there is always someone who is also working, so you can never let your guard down.”
He continues, “I've met several people here who are extremely talented at their craft but are also extremely humble. I have learned that no matter what happens in life, you always have to get back up and keep striving to achieve your goals and keep working on your passion.”
Jazz Band Director Bill Centera says, “Gio is one of the leaders in the GPFAA Jazz Strand and a four-year member of Jazz Ensemble I. During that time, Gio has proven himself to be an outstanding jazz musician on trumpet, having placed in the TMEA All-Region Band multiple times and advancing to the AREA level twice. Additionally, Gio is outstanding academically, having maintained high grades throughout high school. His character is beyond reproach as he personifies all the traits needed to serve as an example for his peers, including leadership, positivity, enthusiasm, and dedication.”
Next year he plans to go to college for nursing, physical therapy or music.
Mariachi Director Marta Ocampo says, “Roberto Celis is a senior in Mariachi Sol Azteca. He is lead guitarist in the top group. He offers solid technique that helps our group stay together and to make the music come alive. He is quiet but strong! We love having Roberto in our school and in our group.”
About GPFAA Robert says, “This school has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best musicians. It has made me a better musician and want to work hard at my craft.”
He says, “I’ve been able to see first-hand what makes a good leader, whether it’s students or teachers, they make you see things in a new way.”
Next year Robert wants to study to become an auto technician.
“One thing I love about GPFAA is getting to collaborate with other strands, especially during the musical. I get to learn about dancing, and how the orchestra has to work with the director,” she says. “I’ve learned here how to be myself and express myself any way I want to and be confident about it.”
Theatre Director Jenny Bishop says, "Nicolette is an incredible young woman, and I am so proud to be her teacher. She has such a kind, thoughtful, and easy-going spirit. She makes any room she is in brighter and is quick to laugh. She excels in her art, her academics, her faith and her friendships. She has an amazing head on her shoulders, and I know she will find success in her future."
Nicolette plans to pursue acting at a college in California.
“I love the community at GPFAA; it’s so vibrant and diverse,” Aiden says. “This school has allowed me to grow as a person. I was able to follow my passions and do what I love, while being academically challenged.”
AP Lit teacher Rachel Gunnels says, “Aiden is an exceptional student. He’s a leader amongst his peers, as he’s always willing to go out of his way to do a job well. He isn’t afraid to ask questions and is always looking to improve. Because of his tenacity, Aiden will be hugely successful in life.”
Next year Aiden will pursue a degree in architectural engineering.
Annabeth says, “I’ve loved being able to dance every day. Also, I’ve made really strong connections with friends and teachers.” She says professionalism is one trait she learned at GPFAA. “Especially in dance, they teach how to compose yourself and act professionally in any situation.
Dance Director Dani Warden says, "I have had the honor of watching Annabeth grow as a dance technician and artist over the years. She has a true understanding of modern theory and pedagogy in our field. More importantly Annabeth is a young lady of great character. Her work ethic, compassion for others, and calm disposition makes her a tremendous role model for our department. Annabeth is destined for greatness!"
Annabeth plans on attending Texas A&M to study dance science. Her goal is to be a physical therapist.
“The teachers here are great, and I also enjoy how it’s an artistic environment all the time,” Chloe says. “GPFAA has taught me how to stay focused on what’s important and balancing acting, which I enjoy, along with academics, which I don’t enjoy as much, but are equally important.”
Theatre Director Jenny Bishop, "Chloe is new to our department this year and I could not be more pleased that she joined us. I only wish she could have arrived here sooner! She has far exceeded our expectations and has truly been an asset to our program. She quickly assimilated into the theatre strand and has contributed through performance as well as participation in Thespians and community service. She is grounded and honest and such a joy to have in class.”
In the fall Chloe will attend Penn State for Musical Theatre.
“I like how the school has given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have received at another school. Everyone here has supported me and my art,” she says. “I learned how to utilize mixed media much better.”
Art Director Lena Rodriguez says, "Mia is a fantastic artist and student. Her creativity in producing conceptually strong pieces really elevates the projects we work on. Mia is always ready and willing to help lead and organize events and projects and always puts in the extra mile."
Next year Mia will be studying animation through Dallas County Community College.
Xavier says, “I get the academic push I need here. Plus, I get two hours a day to work in dance to not just learn how to be a dancer in a company but grow as an individual artist. This school as a whole is a breeding ground to better understand people, past race, past age, across all art strands.”
Dance Director Dani Warden says, “I have had the honor of watching Xavier grow from an energetic, hip-hop dancing 6th grader into a well-polished, preprofessional dancer that is sought after by some of the top schools in the country. Most importantly, Xavier is greater than his dance. He is a humble, fearless, empathetic, and a spirit-led young man that understands and accepts his responsibility to be a leader in our society.”
Next year he wants to pursue a BFA in dance and minor in creative writing.
Alyssa says she really likes the community at GPFAA. “Everyone is working toward the same thing. It’s like a big family, and everyone looks out for each other.”
“GPFAA has taught me more leadership roles and how to carry myself more confidently, like when I’m meeting new people and getting to know a new environment, which will help me going into a job interview or audition.”
Social studies teacher Jackie Hayes says, “Alyssa is an exceptionally gifted and ambitious young woman. She has a warm, friendly personality, and is a joy to have in class. Her commitment to excellence and strength of character are inspiring, and she is universally respected at school. It has been an honor and pleasure getting to know her over the past few years. I know she will accomplish anything she sets her mind to.”
Next year she plans to major in music education at UTA or TCU.
Mariachi Director Marta Ocampo says, "Jessica is a senior in Mariachi Sol Azteca. She is first chair violinist in the top group and lead vocals. She is the president of the student officers of the group. She is a wonderful young woman that I can count on for anything. We love having Jessica in our school and in our group!"
Jessica says, “The best part of my experience has been the doors GPFAA has opened for me and the opportunities provided, in getting to travel the country and meet tons of hew people, all while doing my passion.”
She continues, “GPFAA has taught me that there are no limits to the things I can achieve. If I work hard at something and remain persistent, the possibilities are endless.”
After graduation Jessica plans on going to college to study music education.
Kieran says, “The atmosphere at GPFAA is very welcoming, and it allows me to be myself in a lot of areas that I would not expect at a school. The determination of all the other students puts pressure on me to do my best. Also, I have learned the importance of communication and the weight that words hold.”
Art Director Lena Rodriguez says, “I am constantly impressed with Kieran’s passion for art. He is incredibly invested in all things creative and approaches each new project and experience with enthusiasm. He will find much success wherever the road of life takes him!”
Next year Kieran plans to attend Rochester Institute in New York for animation.
“GPFAA introduced me to a bunch of new people and allowed me to travel and compete through my strand,” she says. “GPFAA has taught me work ethic. I am now more organized and have improved social skills.”
Mariachi Director Maria Sandoval says, "Karina is a dedicated violinist and vocalist for Mariachi Sol Azteca. She is a young woman of distinction with integrity and outstanding in her academics. She is a leader and always helping the younger students in our program. I know she will continue to grow and accomplish all her goals."
Karina is looking to attend DBU in the fall for nursing.
“I never had a bad teacher at GPFAA – they were all nice and understanding,” Aidan says. “I have really learned to play the violin and learned a lot about patience.”
Orchestra Director Richard Galvan says, “Aidan Williams and I have been on a journey since he was a beginning 6th-grader in my orchestra program. It has been an honor and privilege to watch him grow into the outstanding person and musician he is today. I am happy that his growth and success are a part of my story. Way to go, Aidan!”
Next year Aidan will pursue electrical engineering.
“I love the teachers’ passion for the arts because it means they understand our passion for the arts,” Carlwell says. “The amount of collaboration at this school has really impressed me. I’ve learned to collaborate with other artists, even in different mediums. As an actor I’ve worked with visual artists or dancers or instrument players.”
Theatre Director Jenny Bishop says, “Carlwell is so incredibly gifted and has truly used his time during this unprecedented year to grow exponentially in his craft. He has his pick from the top theatre programs in the country, and I cannot wait to see him flourish in college. He is a leader in the theatre strand and always present to lend a hand. He is one of the most hard-working and dedicated students I have ever had to pleasure to teach.”
Next year Carlwell will attend Carnegie Mellon to study Musical Theatre or his backup NYU.
“I loved the teachers, how much they cared about us and the experiences they were able to share,” he says. “GPFAA has taught me how much perseverance it takes to be in the world. Here we were involved in a lot of competition, and we sometimes had to hear the word No.”
Theatre Director Jenny Bishop says, “Will Reames’ presence in my classroom is one of the joys of my day. He is always up for anything, works harder than just about anyone and brings a positive attitude. Even when Will is not the leader, he leads by example. He is not afraid to challenge others to always see both sides, stays active in current events while also being an excellent student. I will miss Will terribly when he graduates.”
In the fall Will is attending Marquette University to major in Political Science and Theatre Arts.