Alumni artists who have continued to dazzle long after their graduation from Waxahachie High School were recently recognized during the second annual Fine Arts Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
The honorees included local musicians and national recording musicians, teachers, a band director, artist, and a Texas cooking legend.
Board member Jo Adams said, “The Fine Arts Hall of Fame was started by Margaret Felty to recognize Waxahachie graduates who have done well continuing the perform their art.”
Margret Felty explained, “The awards program for the athletic department is a success story. I thought we should have an awards program for fine arts students of Waxahachie High School for graduates that enjoyed continued success in their arts through their lives."
The first recipient, Carol Reglin Farrar is a 1960 graduate that excelled in flute, piccolo and piano. She has played with the North Texas State University band and orchestra and the Dallas Symphony. While teaching music at several colleges and university, Farrar returned to Waxahachie to teach at the high school, junior high and kindergarten.
“I am grateful for the strong education foundation, the dedicated, patient teachers who gave me their inspiration and caring instruction that carried me through life,” Farrar said.
The second alumni honored began his music career playing drums in the sixth grade before advancing to the piano in high school. Kenneth Pointer graduated from Waxahachie High School in 1979.
After graduating with a degree in music from East Texas State University, his career began as an educator with band programs that performed throughout the country while teaching at Kemp High School. He was named educator of the year while teaching at Whitney High School.
“Music is the universal language of all people,” Pointer said.
Charles Coursey was the third to be recognized. He is a Waxahachie musician who began his music career playing guitar gigs at the local Optimist Club and the Waxahachie Country Club with a group named “The Left Hand.“
"We were all left-handed," said newly inducted Hall of Famer Charles Coursey.
During his speech, Coursey recalled writing his first radio spot in a radio-television class.
"I wrote the spot that was sixty-one seconds long. I took it to my professor thinking I had done a really good job. He looks at me and says It’s sixty-one seconds long. It can’t be over. They can’t extend the time," Coursey said. "'No' was the answer.”
He has done quite well since. Over his career, Coursey has earned success with clients that include PepsiCo, Motorola, NEC and the American Heart Association. He has received many awards throughout the country for his work in the visual arts.
Charles Soloman Jr, a 1980 Waxahachie graduate, was the fourth alumnus inducted.
After beginning his acting career at WHS, Soloman moved to Los Angeles to become an actor and filmmaker. He has starred in, as well as directed, several recognized films.
Jennifer Fiedler, a 2009 WHS graduate, was the next to be inducted into the fine arts hall of fame.
Once named “Most likely to succeed” in her high school yearbook, Fielder played the leading role in the Waxahachie High School drama department production of "Peter Pan." In athletics, she lettered all four years on the volleyball team.
After her graduation from Dallas Baptist University, Fiedler decided to pursue a career in country music. In Nashville, she joined Trey Smith to form the nationally touring country music duo, Smithfield. The duo has been recognized as an up-and-coming band in the country music world by several well-known publications. Most recently, Smithfield has released their hit song, "Hey, Whiskey," across all country FM radio stations.
Her mother, Cheree Fiedler, accepted the award on her behalf.
Sam Higgins is a 1961 Waxahachie graduate, who was known by his classmates and coaches for excelling in sports. He was even named a most valuable player in baseball.
While attending the University of North Texas, Higgins began cooking. “I didn’t want to starve to death," he said.
After graduating from college, he moved back to Dallas to sell insurance — which he did in the front of his office while peddling barbecue in the back.
As he began to take his cooking seriously, Higgins has now written several cookbooks, been featured in cooking magazines and served at several barbecues and chili cook-offs across the nation. He has also served as the national spokesman for several national brands, traveling extensively promoting their products.
Today, Higgins and his wife, Becky, own and operate the Chuckwagon Inn in Fredericksburg.
For 29 years, Carl Block taught all levels of art and often served as the chair of the fine arts department in Waxahachie ISD. During those years, the band and theater departments grew exponentially and began to regularly compete at the state level.
“One thing I learned early as a chairman was to stay out of director’s way. Thank you, Rich,” said Block as he looked toward current Waxahachie band director Rich Armstrong.
Outside of the classroom, Block is known as a creative and skilled artist. Developing an ever, evolving ceramic artwork collection that is shown across the United States in studios that include the San Angelo Museum of Fine Art and The Ceramic Research Central Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona — just to name a few.
Although retired, Block continues to train and inspire young artists through private classes.
A silent auction was also held that generated $3,000 to give in the form of a scholarship in 2017.