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Seven Lakes High School orchestra director Desiree Overree is one of only 50 people in the country, and one of only two from Texas, to be named a Distinguished Music Educator by the Yale School of Music.  This award recognizes music educators throughout the U.S. for their outstanding accomplishments in teaching music in public schools.  As part of the recognition, Overree received an all-expense paid trip to New Haven, Connecticut, to participate in the Symposium on Music in Schools held at Yale School of Music.

The Symposium takes place once every two years, with this year’s event focusing on: integrating music into the general classroom; and the relationship between visiting teaching artists and public school music teachers.  Additionally, 2011 participants had an opportunity to meet with world renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma.

“This has been one of the most fantastic opportunities in my career,” says Overree. “I met and collaborated with some of the best in music education from around the country and found many people interested in the music education program at Seven Lakes and in Katy ISD.”

Overree was first nominated by Superintendent Alton Frailey and Katy ISD executive director of Fine Arts, Bob Bryant, earlier this year.  On the nomination form, Frailey states that Overree “truly embodies the qualities of exemplary leadership as she provides instruction, correction, affirmation, and exposure to the endless possibilities of expression, emotion ad excellence that can only be experienced through music.”

Added to this outstanding opportunity, Overree and Seven Lakes High School were recently recognized with an Honorable Mention Certificate and a $500 award check for a submission to the 2010 Original Score Contest presented by State Farm.  This contest called for an original piece of music depicting Texas.  The submitted score, Guardian Souls of the Alamo, was created by 2010 Seven Lakes High School graduate R.J. Cruz, and depicts the battle of the Alamo.  Overree, along with Seven Lakes HS Band Director Damon Archer, worked with Cruz last fall to refine the piece that was later performed by the Seven Lakes Symphony Orchestra.

Overree, who has been teaching music since the age of 15, will start her seventh year with Katy ISD, and her sixteenth year in public education this fall.

“Ms. Overree is an incredible teacher.  Her passion for music, music-making, and the musical development of each of her students is unsurpassed,” says Bryant.  “Ms. Overree embodies the many components that not only define an exceptional teacher, but that are essential to providing quality music education.”

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Seven Lakes HS 2010 graduate R.J. Cruz (left) with Seven Lakes HS orchestra director Desiree Overree (right) and members of the Seven Lakes HS orchestra. Cruz wrote an original piece of music, Guardian Souls of the Alamo, that was recently recognized with an Honorable Mention Certificate in the 2010 Original Score Contest presented by State Farm.
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