Forty-six students were on hand for the event seated at long tables in a semi-circle ready to sign their intents to attend a variety of universities across Texas and the nation Monday. Some were heading to the military, while many were going to Odessa College and University of Texas Permian Basin.
Still others were headed to Texas Tech, Stephen F. Austin, University of North Texas, Abilene Christian University, Angelo State, Lubbock Christian University, West Texas A&M University and University of Oregon.
Many of those who recruited the students, music faculty who helped along the way and several top district officials were in attendance for the event.
“We are so lucky to have the students we have in fine arts,” said Todd Berridge, head director of PHS orchestras.
Kobe Sebolt, a 17-year-old senior, is going to Odessa College on a band scholarship.
“I’m probably going to be studying either music or radiology; polar opposites,” Sebolt said.
He added that the signing event is a great occasion because students in athletics get lots of attention.
“… I feel like fine arts isn’t as appreciated, so I feel like since we get this we should really take advantage of it,” Sebolt said.
Tristan Wood, a 17-year-old senior, is heading to University of North Texas where she plans to study environmental science. However, she still plans to be in the choir.
“I think it was really fun and it was good to represent our schools and show how often we get signed, especially vs. the athletics and stuff like that,” Wood said.
Natalie Berridge, a 17-year-old senior and daughter of Todd Berridge, plans to study computer science at UTPB.
“I think it’s cool that the fine arts have equal representation, because a lot of the time people favor athletics over fine arts and it feels good to have people recognize fine arts as a good skill to have,” Natalie Berridge said.
David Corman, an adjunct voice professor at UTPB and minister of music and evangelism at First United Methodist Church, was recruiting for UTPB.
“It’s an awesome affirmation of the fine arts. They’re an integral part of the core of what should happen at any school. Permian is very fortunate to have a tremendous program in band, orchestra and choir …,” Corman said.
He added that he’s looking forward to having the ones signed to UTPB attend.
“… I’m super happy to have them,” Corman said.
Todd Berridge noted that not all of the signees will be going into fine arts. Some will major in kinesiology, criminal justice, become teachers and study environmental studies.
“… They’re the best kids in our orchestras and bands and we want to recognize them for being great, as well,” Todd Berridge said.
Todd Berridge noted that there are many benefits to being in fine arts.
During the past five years, more than 50 percent of PHS’s top 10 students in all grades are in multiple fine arts.
One decade-long study showed that students who took part in at least nine hours of arts education a week were four time more likely than their peers to have won recognition for their academic achievement.
In 2018, Todd Berridge said, the Texas Combined, non-musician SAT score was 1020. The All-State Choir score was 1254, the All-State Symphonic Band score was 1363 and the All-State Symphony Orchestra score was 1441, according to the Texas Music Educators Association.
“Being in fine arts helps with communication skills,” he said. “It helps with interpersonal skills, because you’ve got to learn how to get along in your section in the ensemble and we can directly equate that to getting along with the work group and getting along with an entire company because they have to accept the results. You get first chair, or you get last chair and those are the results. The business world is results oriented and orchestra, band, choir, theater, art (and) athletics are results oriented, as well.”