Fran and the late John Wasilchak have added culture to the learning experience of Glen Rose ISD students since 2006.
Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Ellen Blair recently explained the plans for the partnership of Glen Rose ISD and the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra this school year. Because the couple has played an enormous role in this union, Fran Wasilchak was praised at the September school board meeting.
“We just have an asset in our community that I don’t think any other communities have,” Blair said. “I think the support of Fran and the late John Wasilchak has been enormous. We feel so blessed and honored to have them in our community and that they consider Glen Rose ISD a beneficiary at this level. It’s made a huge difference for our musicians, and for our other kids.
“They’ve awarded $296,000 in scholarships thus far. There have been 72 kids benefit from that scholarship generosity. We can’t thank Fran enough.”
While there were two local Young Persons’ Concerts by the symphony last month, there is much more to come this school year. In February, there will be symphony Master Classes at the high school, a different Young Persons’ Concert at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, a Kinderconcert at Arborlawn United Methodist Church in Fort Worth and open rehearsals at Bass Performance Hall for sixth graders to attend.
Tiger Pride Band Drum Major Trey Sexton told board members about his appreciation for the Master Classes.
“You can only go so far at a laboratory or desk,” Sexton said. “We really appreciate the master programs. This is a necessary experience a lot of kids don’t have.”
Baylie Kapavik, who plays the French horn in the Tiger Pride Band, also addressed board members.
“This (master) program makes you strive to work up to their level,” Kapavik said. “You get to learn from the people you’re inspired from. I think it helps us a lot.”
Band Director Ray Portillo took his turn to address the board.
“Many school districts would love to be in our position,” he said. “We have to thank Fran for her generosity. I want to thank her publicly because it’s a really big deal. This has given our students the ability to imagine and dream in their learning.
“It creates a well-rounded education. Districts from around the area - and the community as a whole - need to be included in these performances.”
Numerous other school districts sent their students to see the September young persons’ concerts.
After hearing the various speakers thank her and her late husband, Fran Wasilchak took her turn to address the board.
“I’m very impressed with the 21st Century Learning program,” she said in reference to an earlier presentation at the meeting. “It’s great to hear about the advances we’ve seen since (my husband and I) moved to this community in 1980.”
She is very pleased with the evolution of the partnership between GRISD and the FWSO.
“We weren’t sure at first if inviting the symphony down here would work,” she said. “It’s just been a pleasure to see these children’s faces when they work with the masters’ program. Every year, it gets better. The musicians always ask when they get to come back and it’s very rewarding.”