The Abilene High and Cooper boys’ basketball teams are hosting the Raising Cane’s Key City Classic tournament this weekend at Eagle Gym and Cougar Gym. Both teams enter the tournament – which began Thursday – with momentum. Cooper beat Lubbock Estacado, the 11th-ranked team in Class 4A, Tuesday night at Cougar Gym, 61-57, in double-overtime to improve to 2-3 on the season. Kam Gray led the Cougars with 21 points in the win, while Jordan Willis added 15. Cooper opened the tournament Thursday night against Canutillo, and a win would push the Cougars into a winner’s bracket game Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Cougar Gym. … The Abilene High boys are 5-1 to start the season after a win Tuesday night at Sweetwater. The Eagles played El Paso Austin at Eagle Gym Thursday night, and a win would push them into a winner’s bracket game Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Eagle Gym. … Other teams in the tournament field are Fort Worth Nolan Catholic, Midland Christian, The Colony, Abilene Wylie, Cleburne, Benbrook, Parish Episcopal, Aledo, Midland Legacy, and North Crowley. The championship game is set for Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Eagle Gym. Day passes for each day are $5 for adults and $3 for students.

More than 75 students from Craig Middle School toured AT&T Stadium in Arlington, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, Tuesday as a reward for their efforts in the school’s fundraising campaign earlier this school year. The students, some teachers, and parent volunteers toured the stadium, which opened in 2009 and has hosted a Super Bowl, an NCAA Final Four, high school football games, international soccer matches, the Cotton Bowl, the Rose Bowl, College Football Playoff games, and concerts, among other events. The tour included a trip through the Cowboys’ locker room, the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders’ locker room, and time on the field for a group photo and for everyone to play on the turf.

Christmas Season Kickoff: City Sidewalks 2023 on Nov. 28 was a huge success. Students from 17 AISD fine arts groups performed throughout the downtown area. The Abilene High and Cooper bands marched in the parade, while choirs from high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools performed at several different venues, along with middle school orchestras and the Soundwave Handbell Choir. The annual City Sidewalks event officially kicks off the Christmas season in Abilene. Thank you to our fine arts students and their directors for their participation in the event.

Fine Arts Roundup: We are thrilled to announce that our very own Canon Cavazos has been awarded Outstanding Middle School Educator in the state of Texas by the Texas Art Education Association. Cavazos is the art teacher at Mann Middle School. Congratulations, Mrs. Cavazos! … Because of the dedication, care, and skill of our incredible visual arts teachers, we are proud to announce the Abilene ISD has been recognized for the third consecutive year as a District of Distinction in the Visual Arts. Congratulations to our visual arts teachers throughout the district for their efforts in making AISD a leader in this area among all school districts in the state. … Abilene High Theatre had a school-record 12 students selected as National Qualifiers at the 2023 Texas Thespian State Fest in Grapevine, Texas. Additionally, Caleb Irwin and Jackson Riley were selected as Main Stage finalists. Those students who were selected are Carrier Mercer, Hope Arrazola, Lauren McGrew, and Kade Wester in Solo Musical, and Riley, Irwin, Barrett Roberson, Ben Jeter, Brady Westmoreland, Syler Richardson, Zjay Wright, and Kelsie Patterson in Duet Acting. … Congratulations to Hope Arrazola (Alto 1) and Jackson Liske (Bass 1) who represented the Abilene High School Choir at the Region 6 Pre-Area Auditions earlier this month. Both students will now advance to the final round of the All-State auditions on Jan. 6. … The Abilene ISD is proud to recognize 67 middle school students who were selected for the East Zone Region 6 Middle School Honor Band. Mann Middle School had 20 students selected, Madison had 18 selected, Craig had 17 selections, and Clack had 12 honorees. The students performed on Friday, Nov. 10, in the All-Region Honor Band concert at the Wylie Performing Arts Center. Those 67 Abilene ISD selections are as follows:

  • Clack Middle School – Noah Aldape, Elizabeth Clifton, Caidyn Cox, Leo Hidalgo-Ornelas, Chris Battee, CJ Urata, Noah Turrieta, Orion Vasquez, Jacob Avila, Stella Archuleta-Nicola, Serenity Burnett, and Jakobi LaChance.
  • Craig Middle School – Brielle Alcantar, Emmalea Parsons, Olivia Ransford, Jeremiah Escobedo, Grace McNally, Joseph Castleman, Gabe Diaz, Julian Pfrimmer, Wyatt Riddle, Case Smith, Brooklyn Werner, Grayson Traylor, Cash Saucedo, Evan Chaney, Kallen Naldoza, Keaton Roberts, and Zachary Campbell.
  • Madison Middle School – Ella Kate Smothermon, Carlie Johnson, Kenzie Jester, Desirae Ueblacker, Hannah Zakayo, Anthony Ntambwe, Carter Cook, Bryson Fish, Briley Tucker, Jaxson Bamlet, Sorayah Payton, Kahnor Puga, Andrew Gaona, Lexi Brumbaugh, Joshua Herera, Jason Lomas, Max Frick, and Kadon Woody.
  • Mann Middle School – Aileen Martinez, Gavin Youngblood, Alexis Rodriguez, Mollie Woodard, Grayson Fendley, Sofia Pietsek, Parren DeMartini, Eli Bailey, Veronica Grimaldo, Christian Smith, Jagger Gonzales, Sol Salmon, Eli Palmer, Ethan Roemisch, Kendall Hall, DJ Anderson, Gabriel Rocha, Carter Bennet, Brett Rolan, and Levi McKnight.

Upcoming Fine Arts Events

Monday, Dec. 4

      7 p.m. – Cooper High School Choir concert, Cooper Auditorium

      7 p.m. – Craig Middle School Choir concert, First Baptist Church

Tuesday, Dec. 5

      Time TBA – Craig Middle School Theatre Show, site TBA

      6:30 p.m. – Mann Middle School Band Winter Concert, Mann Auditorium

      7 p.m. – Soundwave Handbell Choir Winter Concert, Elmcrest Baptist Church

Thursday, Dec. 7

      2 p.m. – Taylor Elementary School 5th Grade Christmas Program, Taylor Elementary

      6 p.m. – Ward Elementary School Honor Choir Christmas Concert, Ward Elementary

      6 p.m. – Taylor Elementary School 5th Grade Christmas Program, Taylor Elementary

Friday, Dec. 8

      6:30 p.m. – Craig Middle School Symphonic Orchestra Winter Concert, First Baptist Church

      7 p.m. – Abilene High Orchestra Concert, First Baptist Church

      7 p.m. – Madison Middle School Theatre Fall Show, Madison Auditorium

Saturday, Dec. 9

      7 p.m. – Madison Middle School Theatre Fall Show, Madison Auditorium

The AISD Memorial Park honors the memory of deceased AISD students and staff who honorably served in the United States Armed Forces. The park is located on the grounds of Dyess Elementary School and includes a Veterans Memorial Wall commemorating the names of those who served. If you want to nominate a loved one who has passed away for memorialization on the district’s Veterans Memorial Wall, please click here to submit their information. If you’d like to search the AISD database for the 77 names that already have their names etched onto the wall, click here.

The Marine Corps Toys for Tots program is currently accepting applications for their program. Applications will be accepted through Sunday, Dec. 10. The program is for children 14 and under. Distribution to the community is planned for Dec. 19-Dec. 21. If you have any questions, email The Toys for Tots program distributed 18,425 toys last year, supporting 4,411 children in Abilene and the surrounding area. If parents need assistance with the application, they can call Abilene ISD School Social Worker Diana Hall at 325-677-1444, ext. 7123. The application can be found here. If you would like to make a financial donation, click here. If you want to donate a toy, click here to learn where to drop off your donation.

Abilene ISD Sports Roundup: The Abilene High girls’ basketball team is off to a solid 8-6 start after a 57-53 road win Tuesday at Snyder. The Lady Eagles don’t play again until Dec. 5 when they play at Merkel at 6:30 p.m. They will host Hawley at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 8, and then open District 4-5A play on Dec. 12, when they play at Wylie at 6 p.m. The first meeting between Abilene High and Cooper will follow on Friday, Dec. 15, at 6 p.m. at Eagle Gym. … The Cooper girls’ basketball team got a big 72-34 road win Tuesday night at Midland Greenwood to improve to 3-6 on the season. The Lady Cougars will be back in action Friday at Wellington before going to the Brady Tournament next weekend where they will play Coleman, Llano, Blanco, and San Saba. The Lady Coogs will open District 4-5A play on Dec. 12 against Lubbock Cooper at 6 p.m. at Cougar Gym before going across town on Dec. 15 to take on Abilene High at 6 p.m. at Eagle Gym. … The Abilene High tennis team. which reached the state playoffs for the ninth straight season earlier this fall, finished the season ranked No. 20 in the state, according to the Texas Tennis Coaches’ Association, which released its final poll earlier this month. Class 5A state champion Frisco Centennial finished ranked No. 1 with state runner-up Austin Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA) at No. 2. Amarillo High, which lost in the semifinals to Centennial, was No. 3, followed by Boerne Champion. Other District 4-5A teams in the final poll were seventh-ranked Lubbock High, eighth-ranked Wylie, and 18th-ranked Lubbock Cooper. … Abilene High cross country and track standout Andruw Villa recently finished seventh at the NIKE Cross Regional meet and earned an at-large bid to run at the NIKE Cross National meet in Portland, Oregon. Villa will run in the meet on Saturday (Dec. 2) at the Glendoveer Golf Course. Villa finished seventh on Nov. 18 at the regional meet in The Woodlands, covering the 5K course at Bear Branch Park in 15:06.1. The winner of the regional meet was Joseph Bariola from Arkansas, who finished in 14:52.9. Bariola is committed to the University of Missouri. Villa, a senior who will also run track in the spring, finished second at the UIL Class 5A state championship meet, the best finish ever by an AHS athlete at the state meet at Old Settler’s Park in Round Rock.


Friday, Dec. 22 – End of 3rd grading period (early release)

Monday, Dec. 25-Monday, Jan. 8 – Winter break

Monday, Jan. 8 – AISD Staff Work Day

Tuesday, Jan. 9 – Beginning of 4th grading period

Monday, Jan. 15 – MLK holiday (AISD closed)

Friday, Feb. 16 – End of 4th grading period (early release)

Monday, Feb. 19 – Student holiday / Staff Professional Development

Tuesday, Feb. 20 – Beginning of 5th grading period

Monday, March 11-Friday, March 15 – Spring Break

Friday, March 29 – Good Friday (AISD closed)

Sunday, March 31 – Easter

Monday, April 1 – Easter holiday (AISD closed)

Friday, April 5 – End of 5th grading period (early release)

Monday, April 8 – Beginning of 6th grading period

Sunday, May 19 – Baccalaureate Services, First Baptist Church

Thursday, May 23 – End of 2023-24 school year (early release)

Friday, May 24 – Abilene High graduation ceremony, Shotwell Stadium

Saturday, May 25 – ATEMS and Cooper High School graduation ceremonies, Shotwell Stadium