Ellison Fine Arts Standouts Announce College Plans

Brianni Gaines UT-ArlingtonAfter making their artistic mark on theater and band at Ellison High School, two talented soon-to-graduate seniors announced plans to continue fine arts studies at the college level.


During a campus fine arts signing ceremony in the Ellison auditorium Thursday, Bradley Gibson and Brianni Gaines posed for photos and celebrated with friends and family.


Gibson, a percussionist who has played snare, marimba, timpani and auxiliary in the Screaming Eagle Band is taking his talents to McNeese State University to study music education.


“Music in high school has had a huge impact on my life,” he said in a written response about the effect of fine arts on his education.


Gibson listed all his band directors as positive influences, as well as his parents.


He earned a top Division I rating at the UIL Solo and Ensemble Contest this year, is a member of the golf team and serves on the Library Advisory Council.


Ellison Band Director Eric Reynolds praised Gibson’s strong work ethic, as well as his sense of humor and leadership skills.

Bradley Gibson - McNeese StateBrianni Gaines fine arts signing


Gaines has been a star in Ellison theater four years, beginning as a lighting technician, working theater, choir and dance shows.


Eventually, the talented actor played the lead in Ellison theater productions, earned All-Star Cast status in UIL One Act Play competition and performed on the school’s JV Jewels dance team.


Gaines is going to the University of Texas at Arlington to study musical theater and plans to perform on Broadway.


She thanked her teachers, particularly her theater directors for working with her throughout high school, especially on college auditions.


Gaines, who is Ellison’s class salutatorian, also praised her sister, Brianne, a recent Ellison valedictorian and fine arts student for support and motivation.


Theater Director Hayley Hersey praised Gaines’ ability to balance a huge load of acting, choreography and dance responsibilities while maintaining a top academic rank in her class.


After two years of conducting districtwide fine arts signing ceremonies, the Fine Arts Department moved to campus-level signings for the first time this year.


Assistant Fine Arts Director Garth Gunderson pointed out at the Ellison signing the strong correlation between academic excellence and fine arts participation.


The Texas Cultural Trust reports that Texas students highly engaged in arts courses are 112 percent more likely to earn exceptional scores on standardized tests and 42 percent more likely to attend a four-year university.