Some of the brightest minds in Texas will descend on Abilene this weekend as The LIFT hosts the Texas Region 5 VRC High School Robotics Championships. The meet is set to start Saturday (Feb. 24) at 9 a.m. with qualifying matches. The top 38 teams in the region – which includes students from ATEMS – will be at The LIFT for the competition, which will be streamed on AISD Live. Each team is not only competing to be the state champion for Region 5, but also earn an invitation to the VEX World Championship meet in late April. The 38 teams will compete head-to-head (two robots against two robots) for the highest score. The teams will compete in a skills challenge (one robot against the field) for the highest score. Most teams will submit their engineering notebook for judging and do a team interview, which becomes part of several additional awards.

The Abilene High boys’ basketball team saw its season end Tuesday night with a 60-36 loss to 15th-ranked Amarillo Palo Duro in the bi-district round of the Class 5A state playoffs. The Eagles, who finished third in District 4-5A, finished the season 22-12, the program’s first 20-win season since a 23-10 campaign in 2019-20 when the Eagles were in District 3-6A. Three of the four playoff representatives from District 4-5A lost their bi-district games Tuesday night as Lubbock Monterey and Wylie also lost. The Plainsmen fell to Amarillo Tascosa, 67-60, while the Bulldogs dropped a 76-31 decision to fifth-ranked Amarillo High, coached by former Cooper High School standout Jason Pillion, who earlier this season recorded his 400th victory with the Sandies. … The Cooper boys basketball team – playing its first season under head coach Michael Bacon – saw its season come to a heartbreaking end last Friday with a 44-43 loss to Wylie in a play-in game at ACU’s Moody Coliseum. The Cougars had a late lead after a Kam Gray basket, but the Bulldogs scored with less than two seconds to play to take the win and claim the fourth playoff spot from the district. The Cougars finished the season 13-19]

Fine Arts Roundup: The Abilene High and Cooper bands competed last Saturday (Feb. 17) in the Region 6 East Zone Band Solo and Ensemble contest at Wylie High School, and each band will send more than 30 students to the State Solo and Ensemble contest, which is set for May 27 in Pflugerville. We will have more information on state qualifiers in the March 8 AISD newsletter. … The Youth Art Month display – which features numerous pieces of art created by students in Abilene ISD – continues through Saturday, March 2, at The Grace Museum. Make sure to stop by and explore all the wonderful work our talented students are creating on campuses throughout the district.

AISD Athletics Roundup: The Abilene High and Cooper softball teams will host the AISD Icebreaker Tournament this weekend, with games already having been played Thursday (Feb. 22). The Lady Coogs – who lost to Odessa High, 10-8, Tuesday night – will play Merkel (2 p.m.) and Breckenridge (5:30 p.m.) on Friday and Snyder (12:15 p.m.) Saturday, all at Cougar Field. The Lady Eagles, meanwhile, entered the tournament at 4-4 after a 5-4 win over Lake Belton at home Tuesday night. They will play Amarillo Caprock (9 a.m.) and Creekview (5:30 p.m.) Friday and wrap up the tournament Saturday with an 11:45 game against Graham with all their games being played at Eagle Field. … The Cooper and Abilene High baseball teams get their seasons started this weekend with tournaments in the DFW Metroplex area. For more on the two teams, click here (add a link from the AISD Baseball Preview story).Abilene High opened the season Thursday at the Melissa Tournament and will continue in the tournament through Saturday. The Eagles will play Canyon Randall (10 a.m.) and Jasper (3 p.m.) on Friday and Melissa (10 a.m.) on Saturday. … Cooper opened its season Thursday at the Weatherford Tournament and will continue there through Saturday. The Coogs will play Azle (11 a.m.) and Nacogdoches (1:45 p.m.) on Friday and Boyd (10 a.m.) on Saturday. … The Cooper boys soccer team moved into second place in the District 4-5A standings Tuesday after a big 8-0 home win over Lubbock Coronado pushed them to 7-7-1 overall and 4-1-1 in district play. The Cougars – who play four of their final six matches of the season in Abilene – are back at Shotwell tonight (Friday) against Lubbock Cooper at 7 p.m. … The Abilene High boys were off Tuesday and are now third in district at 11-4-1 overall and 4-2-0 in the league, one-half game behind Cooper. The Eagles are at Wylie tonight (Friday) at 7 p.m. as the teams start the second half of district play. Wylie is 2-4 in district play and fifth place in the league and lost to the Eagles, 3-1, in the district opener on Jan. 30. … The Abilene High girls are sitting in fourth place in the district race at the end of the first half of play at 2-3-1 in the league (3-6-3 overall). Abilene High will play four of its final six matches of the regular season in Abilene and will be at Shotwell Stadium tonight (Friday) to host Wylie at 5 p.m. The Lady Eagles dropped a 3-1 decision to Wylie on Jan. 30 at Bulldog Stadium. … The Cooper girls’ soccer team is 1-5 at the end of the first half of district play and in fifth in the district. Cooper is at Lubbock Cooper tonight at 7 p.m., looking to get back into the chase for one of the four playoff spots from the district. … The soccer version of the Crosstown Showdown will happen Tuesday at Shotwell Stadium as the Abilene High girls take on Cooper at 5 p.m., followed by the Cooper boys playing Abilene High at 7 p.m. … Now that the girls’ basketball season is over for every team in District 4-5A, the all-district teams have been announced, and Abilene High and Cooper are well-represented. The Lady Eagles – who reached the playoffs for the first time since 2019 – had six players selected all-district, including first-teamer Samia Cooper. Also selected for the second team were Gracie Jordan, Taryn Moore, and Myra Thomas. Samara Padgitt and Joshlyn Hancock were named honorable mention all-district. Cooper had five players selected to the all-district team, including first team selection J’Lee Sloan. Jazlyn Hatcher was selected to the second team, and Jaedah Titus, Mya Chavez, and Ciara Jackson were all named honorable mention. Each of the 10 members of the AHS team were selected Academic All-District, and they are Mackenzie Baker, Cooper, Ariana Trevino, Anna Ferguson, Iyonna Green, Thomas, Hancock, Moore, Padgitt, and Jordan. Lady Cougars selected to the all-district team were Hatcher, Titus, Chavez, Jayda Jones, and Amiya Mayes. 


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 graduation ceremonies, Shotwell Stadium