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ABOUT OUR AWARD

When Mr. VandeWalle stepped into the role of music teacher at Kocurek Elementary School, he encountered numerous challenges. Transitioning into a school where the previous music teacher had been the sole one in its history made it difficult for the students to accept the newcomer. However, fate intervened when the Koala Choir, under Mr. VandeWalle's guidance, visited the Westminster Retirement Home to sing Christmas Carols for Mr. Kocurek and friends. This encounter led to a meaningful friendship between Mr. VandeWalle and Mrs. Kocurek, during which they discussed his role as the new music teacher and the obstacles he faced.

 

Encouraged by Mrs. Kocurek's belief in him and inspired by the choir's performance, Mr. VandeWalle decided to stay at Kocurek and build his own musical legacy. Over the next couple of years, they continued to connect through Christmas Caroling trips and phone conversations. In gratitude for her unwavering support, Mr. VandeWalle established the "Maurine Kocurek Award of Music Excellence" as a tribute to her love for music.

Mr. Van and Mrs. Kocurek

Mr. Van and Mrs. Kocurek (2009)

Though Mrs. Kocurek passed away in 2011, her name and passion for music live on through this award. Throughout the school year, 5th-grade students at Kocurek Elementary are provided with a plethora of opportunities to engage and immerse themselves in various musical experiences, both inside and outside the classroom. These experiences contribute to their musical growth and development.

 

We take great pride in presenting the "Maurine Kocurek Award of Music Excellence" to students who consistently go above and beyond in their musical pursuits. It serves as a tribute to the late Mrs. Kocurek, a strong supporter of the music program at Kocurek Elementary School. This annual award celebrates the highest level of musical achievement among our students.

 

When selecting recipients for this esteemed honor, various criteria are evaluated, notably active engagement in extracurricular pursuits like the Koala Choir, the AISD Choral Fest, the AISD Music Memory Contest, the AISD Recorder Fest, and related musical endeavors. Above all, each recipient exemplifies exceptional commitment not only to personal growth but also to the advancement of their musical community and the betterment of those within it.

 

The eagerly awaited announcement of the award winners takes place at our annual 5th Grade Promotion Ceremony, held each May. It is a moment of recognition and celebration, honoring our outstanding fifth-grade students who have demonstrated excellence and dedication in all aspects of music and to all those around them.

PART AWARD WINNERS

2009
Denae Ravago
Nabil Bayoumi

2010
Avery Baldwin
Jerardo Sandoval

2011
Alisha Johnson
Martin Berron, Jr.

2012
Madison Wilson
Lyandra Martinez
Sebastian Sandoval
Pedro Zaragoza

2013
Adelynn LeMoine
Bradley Mudd

2014
Gwenyth Grillo
Mariana Leon
Azabeth Petriella
Haleigh Sells

2015
Maya Anthony
Ameriss Gover
Marisol Peters

2016
Alisa Irvin
Alison Maass

2017
Althea Sobrevga
Michelle Conchas
Justin Tapp

2018
Jennessa Holley
Angela Vasquez
Calum Cheah
Robert Lockay

2019
Paola Garcia
Ashley Flores
Gavin MacAlpine
Isabella Olivares

2020
No selections
due to Covid

2021
Harper Ebert-Sipe
Zion Watson

2022
Taylor Barrera
Barrett Brown
Hope Dever
Henry Head

2023
Lauren Power
Kate Horner
Aiden Legendre
Simone Louderback

2024
Araya Mulrooney
Taurus Monroe

2025

2026

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Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
Maurine Kocurek Award Winner
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