Gallery: Plano ISD holds 33rd diversity celebration performance and award presentation

Nora Rotem, elementary school art finalist in the Martin Luther King Jr. diversity competition, shows her mother, Ori Rotem, her piece. Finalist and semifinalist art pieces filled the common area of Williams High School. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nora Rotem, elementary school art finalist in the Martin Luther King Jr. diversity competition, shows her mother, Ori Rotem, her piece. Finalist and semifinalist art pieces filled the common area of Williams High School. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Nora Rotem, elementary school art finalist in the Martin Luther King Jr. diversity competition, shows her mother, Ori Rotem, her piece. Finalist and semifinalist art pieces filled the common area of Williams High School. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Winners of the 2020 Diversity Leadership Awards stand next to each other at the Plano ISD Proud event. The winner for the individual category was Cailtin Bailey-Garafola (far right), and the group winner was Hedgcoxe Elementary School staff and PTA (left). (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Dollie Thomas is presented with a special award for continuing to assist with the yearly diversity celebration event after retiring from Plano ISD the year before. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Members of the Clark High School cast of "Matilda" perform a portion of their upcoming production at the Martin Luther King Jr. tribute event. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Art finalists in the Plano ISD Proud competition are presented awards on stage. Hallie Wang, Rice Middle School student, was recognized as the contest winner. (Left to right: Hallie Wang; Colin McGrane, stand in for Tristan Talkington; Noa Rotem; and Pranav Balakrishnan) (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Author and performer Austin Dean Ashford shares a message about taking every opportunity in life using spoken word, singing, piano and the ukulele. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Speech students from Plano ISD middle and high schools perform "Plano ISD Proud," a performance about culture, diversity and other traits that make them proud of PISD. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Myrtle Hightower sits front-and-center at the 33rd annual Martin Luther King Jr. diversity celebration at Plano ISD. Hightower has been involved in the diversity celebrations since its creation in the 1980s. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Alex Zhu smiles as he watches the audience react to his video performance of his writing contest piece. Each of the writing contest winners were recorded reading their work in their schools. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Timothy Wenick high-fives Kulsum Mzee as he receives recognition for being a writing contest winner. Mzee and Daniel Cox presented the awards as 2019 teachers of the year. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Winners of the writing contest stand on stage with their awards. (Left to right: Alex Zhu, Timothy Wenick, Mila Sanders, Amelia Roy, Lillian Pitluk, Taylor Nguyen, Eiley Moilanen, Marillany Alcantar) (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Plano West Senior High School Show Choirs perform "Proud" by Heather Smalls for the program finale. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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The Plano Children's Chorale joined the high school show choir finale performance, singing from the audience at the 2020 Plano ISD Diversity Celebration. (Liesbeth Powers/community Impact Newspaper)
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Guests of the diversity celebration stop to fill in the blanks on the large chalk stand in the common area of Williams High School. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Angela pauses before adding her scribbles to the "We are Plano ISD Proud..." chalk board at the 2020 diversity celebration. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Hallie Wang, Rice Middle School student, poses next to her winning piece. A family member of hers looks at a print out of the work while she takes photos to commemorate the win. (Liesbeth Poweers/Community Impact Newspaper)
The 2020 Plano ISD Diversity Celebration was the district's 33rd year of recognizing diversity in the district as a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.

The event took place at Williams High School and included recognition for diversity leadership, announcement of winners of the "Plano ISD Proud" art and writing competitions. There were also performances by theater, speech orchestra and choir students, and semifinalist and finalist work from the art competition was presented throughout the evening.


Hallie Wang of Rice Middle School was announced as the winner of the art competition, and Cailtin Bailey-Garafola and Hedgcoxe Elementary School staff and PTA were named 2020 Diversity Leadership Award winners.

Myrtle Hightower, who has been involved in the diversity celebrations since its creation in the 1980s, was present at the show and said she found it to be outstanding.

"I'm so proud that they chose that topic—'Plano Proud,'" Hightower said. "That ought to always be the standard ... And I'm so proud that we [Plano ISD] are the only district that does this."
By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano and Richardson, including Plano City Council and Dallas Area Rapid Transit.


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