Jesuit-Ursuline Ranger Band Collects Sweepstakes Honors at State Competition

The Jesuit-Ursuline Ranger Band (JURB) received a Superior rating from all judges at the Texas Private School Music Educators Association State Marching Band Contest, earning Sweepstakes designation following its “We Will Rock You” show. In addition to its outstanding performance on the team board, the band took home a program-record number of caption awards.

Featuring soloists Joey Wong-Vermilion (trumpet) and Carson Ward (flute), the band’s performance was lauded for having the top drum majors, drumline, winds section and marching in the competition. Caption awards included:

Outstanding Drum Majors: Martin Flores and Michael Gasper
Outstanding Percussion: drumline and front ensemble
Outstanding Winds: woodwinds and brass
Outstanding Marching

 “The directors would like to express how proud we are of the work the students have put into this season’s show,” offered music director Donovan Putnam. “The countless hours the band has spent together creating joyous music and memories, is truly a blessing to witness. From the most seasoned of the senior class to the freshest of the freshmen members, the band’s spirit has been one of positivity and brotherhood, a quality that is not easily achieved in this day and age.”

The last time JURB won four caption awards was for its “Beethoven” show in 2011, although this year marked the first time that the band won the award for Outstanding Marching.

“We Will Rock You” – TPSMEA state performance (Video)

Debate Closes With Top 10 Finish at UNT invitational

The debate teams of sophomores Jack Griffiths and Riler Holcombe, and Ethan Jackson and Chris Tran, earned ninth place this past weekend at the University of North Texas Invitational. Fifty schools from Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana competed in the two-day event. Griffiths and Holcombe were 4-1 in the preliminary rounds and Jackson and Tran were 3-2 in the preliminary rounds with wins over teams from Oklahoma City, Ruston (La.), Isidore Newman (La.), Prosper, Woodrow Wilson, and Hebron.

Jesuit Stage & Film Takes Top Prize at ESD Film Festival

Jesuit’s burgeoning stage & film program, which just two years ago resurrected its own national film festival, walked away with the top honor at the ESD Film Festival, presented by Episcopal School of Dallas. The festival was juried by film critics from The Dallas Morning News, and included actress Carolyn McCormack, Emmy Award-winning film critic Gary Cogill, and Dallas County Community College faculty member Andy Chiles.

The winning film, titled “Through the Ashes,” was written and directed by senior Spencer Vilicic. The film’s original score was created by Martin Flores, with Calvin Herbst and Jake Hessong serving as director of photography and production assistant, respectively.

“In our third year of having filmmaking classes and filmmaking resources on campus, Jesuit students have started to show some success in local film festivals,” noted department co-chair David Myers. “We’re really excited by the great work that the students have exhibited thus far.”

The Jesuit Dallas Film Festival, which has drawn nearly 100 submissions through each of its first two years from high schools across the country, is looking to move the timing of the festival from its current position on the calendar to late January. The rearranging of the calendar reflects a shift in the Jesuit program toward featuring filmmaking.

Click Here to view “Through the Ashes”

Varsity Debaters Earn Top 20 finish at St. Mark’s Invitational

The debate team competed in two tournaments at St. Mark’s that brought the top 100 varsity and sophomore teams in the country to town. The team of Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez finished 17th in the varsity invitational. Lee and Valdez finished the preliminary rounds with a 4-2 record with wins over teams from Albuquerque Academy from New Mexico, Montgomery Bell Academy from Nashville, Peninsula California, and Trinity Valley before losing to Montgomery Bell Academy in the elimination rounds for the top 20 finish.

In addition to the open division tournament, St. Mark’s also hosted the sophomore Hoe Down, a 42-team, six-pod round robin where each debate has a two-judge panel. The sophomore teams of Jack Griffiths and Riler Holcombe, and Ethan Jackson and Chris Tran, competed against teams from California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, and Texas. Each team finished with 8-6 ballot counts in their pods.  This is the first time Jesuit has had two sophomore teams compete in Hoe Down.   

Fifty-Three Students Recognized By National Merit Scholarship Program

Nearly 20 percent of the Jesuit Dallas Class of 2017 was honored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) for demonstrating exceptional academic ability and the potential for rigorous college studies. The students were formally recognized on Wednesday, Oct. 12, during an on-campus ceremony in Hughes Hall.


Over 1.6 million students in more than 23,000 high schools entered the 2016 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT). The 27 students from Jesuit who earned Commendation status were among the top 2% of all test takers in the country, while the eight seniors earning Semifinalist honors mark the highest-scoring entrants in each state and represent less than 1% of high school seniors across the United States.

In addition, a School-record 18 students were honored through the College Board’s National Hispanic Recognition Program as National Merit Hispanic Scholars, and rate among the top 2% of all Hispanic/Latino students nationwide.

Jesuit’s Semifinalists will have a chance to advance to the Finalist level of the competition by meeting additional standards and fulfilling several requirements. These include having a record of very high academic performance in college preparatory course work; SAT scores that confirm the PSAT/NMSQT performance; and the completion of a detailed scholarship application.

National Merit Semifinalists
William Henrion, Miles Okamoto, Robert Rota, Manny Ruiz, Jack Schwab, Joe Vance, James Vroom, Zach Watts

National Merit Hispanic Scholars
Chase Burciaga, Carlos Cabre, Joe Carver, Manolo De Oyarzabal, Evan Doran, Jake Hessong, Erick Huang, Jake Lorocco, Steven Mancillas, William Name, Aaron Olivo, Marc Riccione, Carlos Riddle, Manny Ruiz, Casey Snelson, Reed Torres, Alandro Valdez, Harrison Ward

National Merit Commendation
Will Aberger, Jack Ayres, Timothy Bedard, Joe Carver, Ryan Clements, Sam Cormier, Will Curran, Nash Evans, Spencer Gautreaux, Jake Hessong, Michael Hogan, Vance Holub, Ethan Lacour, Jake Lorocco, Jack Matthews, Will Naquin, Aaron Olivo, Connor O’Neill, Zach Ovenshire, Jacob Palisch, Noah Sherer, Kieran Taylor, Reed Torres, Alandro Valdez, Thomas Whitaker, Trey Wiederecht, Jeff Zhao

Middle School Debate Workshop Highlights Busy Weekend

Jesuit Dallas Debate, along with the School’s Diversity program, is hosting a debate workshop for over 200 middle school students throughout DISD on Saturday, Oct. 8. This weekend marks the fourth consecutive year of the workshop, which serves to provide students with an introduction to debate while promoting the sport as one of the great equalizers in educational opportunity.

In addition, Jesuit is also hosting a scrimmage for first-year high school debaters. Students from St. Mark’s, Greenhill, Colleyville, Highland Park, and Denton Guyer are expected to participate.

The workshop, which begins at 8:30 a.m., will include breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the participants, while the morning features a series of activities meant to cultivate skills in debate. With assistance by the Dallas Urban Debate Alliance (DUDA), students will take part in a practice debate where they will be quickly introduced to the organizational, research, persuasion, and critical thinking skills highly sought by college admissions counselors and employers.

Jesuit Dallas boasts one of the most historically competitive debate programs in Texas, and has won four state championships since 2000. For the second consecutive year, Jesuit qualified a Texas-high five teams for the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Debate Championships in 2016, while the Rangers have had at least one team finish among the top 20 in the state 18 times in the last 22 years.

Six Jesuit Dallas Debaters Secure State-Qualifying Points in Season Debut

Three varsity debate teams from Jesuit Dallas finished in fifth place this past weekend at the Newman Smith Invitational, earning their first qualifying points of the season to the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Debate Championships. Thirty of the top teams in DFW competed in the two-day event.

Senior Greg Tan and junior Ben Miller, sophomores Ethan Jackson and Chris Tran, and sophomores Jack Madden and Pete Weigman all advanced to the quarterfinals before being eliminated. Tan and Miller finished the preliminary rounds unscathed after compiling a 4-0 record, while Jesuit’s other two teams finished 3-1 in the prelims with wins over teams from Coppell, Grapevine, Greenhill, Hebron, Law Magnet, Naaman Forest, and St. Mark’s.

In addition to the team awards, Weigman was named the second individual speaker and Jack Madden the fifth individual speaker out of the over 60 competitors. This was the first tournament of the year for Jesuit’s contingent.

Museum Exhibition Opening: David Bates & Texas Artists

The most recent exhibition from the Jesuit Dallas Museum opens tonight, September 22, in the Jesuit Dallas Historical Library with an evening reception scheduled from 6-8 p.m. The exhibition, titled “David Bates & Texas Artists” offers a local flair, and will feature the acquisition of Man with Gold Tooth, 1982, a monoprint, signed and titled in pencil by David Bates, one of Texas’ most venerated artists.

Jesuit Dallas President, Mike Earsing, and museum director Elizabeth Hunt-Blanc, will each make a short address during tonight’s celebration, which will also include works courtesy of Russell Tether Fine Art, private individuals, and pieces from the Jesuit Dallas Museum’s permanent collection. In addition to the public unveiling of the Bates acquisition, featured artists will include John Alexander, Otis Dozier, and Robert Rauschenberg, among others.

Thursday’s opening is open to all friends of Jesuit. Please RSVP for tonight or send requests for future tours to or 972-387-8700 x383. The “David Bates & Texas Artists” exhibition runs through Monday, November 21.

Thomas Melsheimer ’79 Named Jesuit Dallas Distinguished Alumnus

A devoted husband, father, colleague, and friend, Tom Melsheimer has spent a lifetime seeking the fullest development of his God-given talents while putting his faith into action. Espousing the tenets described in the Profile of the Jesuit Graduate, the ways in which Melsheimer’s service has impacted the Jesuit Dallas community have been innumerable. In recognition of his extraordinary achievements as a scholar and public servant, and for his steadfast commitment to the Jesuit mission, Melsheimer has been named as the recipient of the 2016 Jesuit Dallas Distinguished Alumnus Award.

As one of the most preeminent litigators in the country, Melsheimer’s success has been lauded by nearly every existing peer review. His writings have been published in major daily newspapers, magazines, and law journals, and his reputation led The American Lawyer to declare Melsheimer, “one of the most sought after trial lawyers in the country.” His list of distinctions is striking, and include his selection to the annual listing of Best Lawyers in America every year from 2007-2016. Melsheimer, who has served as lead or co-counsel in five separate cases recognized among the nation’s Top Verdicts of the Year by The National Law Journal, became the youngest-ever recipient of the Dallas Bar Association Trial Lawyer of the Year Award in 2014.

In addition to trying lawsuits in state and federal courts, emphasizing intellectual property, business torts, and False Claims Act litigation, Melsheimer’s extensive trial experience includes verdict cases of patent and copyright infringement, antitrust, fraud, public corruption, and kidnapping. His list of clients includes a variety of notable individuals and high-profile corporations.

In addition to a decorated record as the managing principal of Fish & Richardson’s Dallas office and head of the office’s trial practice, Melsheimer has been hugely devoted to Jesuit, to which he has given an abundance of his time, expertise, and resources. An outgoing member of the Jesuit Dallas Foundation Board of Trustees, he has served on the legal committee and board of advisors. He has previously served as a class captain in the Parents’ Challenge Drive, on the Jesuit Dallas Alumni Board, and has been a significant donor to the MAGIS Golf Classic, Alumni Phonathon, and the Celebration Auction. In 1999, he started the Albert H. Melsheimer Memorial Scholarship Fund in his father’s honor, which supports need-based student scholarships.

On Thursday, November 3, Melsheimer will be presented with the award at the annual Distinguished Alumni Prayer Service before addressing the Jesuit Dallas student body.

Jesuit Dallas Distinguished Alumnus Award
The Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented annually by the Jesuit Alumni Association to an alumnus whose life exemplifies in an exceptional way the religious, academic, family and social values set before him during his years as a Jesuit student and whose outstanding qualities in spiritual and civic leadership have won for him the respect, confidence and affection of his colleagues and the community.

Debate Sweeps Top Two Places at Season-Opening Tournament

Jesuit Dallas debate opened its season by dominating the leaderboard at the 2016 Plano Senior Fall Classic. The team of seniors Beomhak Lee and Alandro Valdez and the senior duo of Jake LoRocco and Emmanuel Ruiz closed out the tournament taking first and second place, respectively. Senior Zach Watts and sophomore Jack Moore combined to secure fifth-place honors, giving Jesuit three finishes among the top five against a relatively small field of 16 teams.

In addition to the outstanding team performance, Lee earned top individual speaker plaudits and Valdez was second in the field of 32 debaters.
With their performance, each of the three Jesuit Dallas units earned points toward qualification to the Texas Forensic Association (TFA) State Debate Championships in March.

The 2016-17 policy debate topic is Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its economic and/or diplomatic engagement with the People’s Republic of China.