At stadiums each week, the lights shine bright on students who help create lasting memories on and off the field
High school football is an iconic part of Texas culture, and the game is only part of its long tradition. In Frisco ISD, the Thursday and Friday night lights shine on the talents and skills of students who are competitors, performers and supporters during a community celebration that extends beyond the playing field.
Each week’s football “event” is a great fit with FISD’s student-opportunities model, which features smaller schools that maximize students’ opportunities to participate. With so many students involved, it’s nearly impossible to include all the ways in which they contribute on and off the field. But here are 10 students – one from each of the District’s high schools -- who represent the many ways students come together to create lasting memories, regardless of the final score of the game.
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Brandon Trinh, Frisco band section leader
Brandon Trinh loves performing with the band, whether marching or in an auditorium. The senior learned trumpet first, and then switched to euphonium and is now a section leader for the Frisco High Band.
“The football season is like bonding time for the band. The games are where we get to really have our fun,” he said. “And all the people out there at games, we’re all essential. Being part of it is like being part of a big symphony.”
Grace Jackson, Centennial cheerleader captain
Grace Jackson has been a cheerleader since she was in the fourth grade, and the senior loves doing community service projects with her fellow Centennial cheerleaders. The first football game she cheered at as a member of the varsity squad remains one of her best memories.
“It’s really exciting, especially getting to be so close to the action,” she said, “and I like to engage and interact with the students.”
Natalie Cain, Lone Star drill team captain
Natalie Cain’s first football game as part of the drill team was three years ago, but it’s still easy for her to remember. The Lone Star senior performed on the opening day of the Ford Center, when all of FISD’s varsity football teams – eight at the time – played on the same Saturday.
“I love everything about drill team, but football is my favorite part,” she said. “Being here with all the students and everyone supporting each other, I really love it.”
Jim Annoh, Lebanon Trail flag crew member
Jim Annoh, a former football player, is one of five Lebanon Trail students known as both the “crew” and the “posse.” When Lebanon Trail scores a touchdown, the students run onto the field with five flags – four that spell out LTHS and another with the school logo.
“I like the spirit,” the senior said, “and all the fans and the way they cheer and get excited when the band plays and the flags go on the field.”
Layla Ford, Liberty student athletic trainer
Layla Ford is one of Liberty’s student athletic trainers, who help the school’s Certified Athletic Trainers. Like many student athletic trainers in the District, Ford is interested in a career in sports medicine.
“The best part is hanging around with people who have the same interests,” the sophomore said, “and traveling with the team and being a part of everything, including the team meal. They introduce us with the players too during the Redhawk Rally.”
Kevin Baskar, Independence student sports broadcaster
Kevin Baskar loves to talk and has a passion for sports, so last year he decided to join the FISD Sports Broadcasting Club. Now the senior is one of the students who does play-by-play for games streamed online.
“The first time I came up here to do this, I was thinking, ‘This is crazy!’” he said. “I mean I’m a high school senior getting to do commentary on a game. It’s amazing. I think more students should know about this opportunity.”
Reese Kirkham, Wakeland Wolverine mascot
Reese Kirkham’s acting background includes an appearance in the 2015 movie The Dollhouse, and the sophomore puts her acting skills to use as Wakeland’s mascot, Wally. She likes having the opportunity to represent the school in the community.
“At games, my favorite thing is getting the crowd involved, getting them to cheer,” she said. “I love seeing the little kids and how they react when they see Wally.”
Tim Brandenburg, Heritage student assistant
Tim Brandenburg helps set up the field on game nights, loads and unloads equipment, sets up uniforms and helmets and is ready to do whatever he can to help Heritage football. The junior, who is on the sidelines at every Heritage practice and game, loves the chance to see the sport up close.
“Some people in the crowd know me and recognize me,” he said. “They usually tell me thanks for supporting us.”
Diego Diaz, Memorial football player
Diego Diaz played on last year’s first-ever Memorial football team and is now a standout linebacker for the Warriors. The junior, who earlier this season had 13 tackles in a game, said his heart still races a little every time he takes the field.
“I love getting to play at the Ford Center,” he said. “That excitement you feel when you go out there – not many people get to experience that.”
Anabella Quevedo, Reedy dedicated fan
Senior Anabella Quevedo (second from right) has been a Reedy superfan since she was a freshman. She and her friends are the first fans in the stadium on game nights, and they can usually be found in the front of the student section, dressed in honor of that week’s fan theme.
“I think fall is my favorite time of the year because of the football games,” said Quevedo, who also plays soccer for Reedy. “It’s so exciting to cheer on your team, and everybody comes together to do it.”
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