As Choir Director of the choirs at Houston High School, I am extremely proud of our partnership with Agape North and KIPP Memphis Academy Middle. What began as a thought in a Houston Choir Booster Board Meeting has resulted in a relationship that we hope to continue and cultivate.

The Booster Board’s past President, Leigh Sistrunk, suggested that we purchase all of our t-shirts from Agape North with the intent of joining their mission of giving back to schools within Shelby County. Agape North then connected us with KIPP Memphis Academy Middle, knowing there is a growing choir and fine arts program at KMAM. This partnership has been an incredibly rewarding experience for our choral students. 

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In the spring of 2017, Agape North and Houston High School Choirs made their first donation of school pride t-shirts in the form of a KMAM choir shirt. To help foster a relationship, Houston High's a cappella ensemble, Fifth Measure, visited and sang for the students in the choral program at KMAM. In addition, their students sang for our students. The visit ended up being a wonderful blend of two great Memphis schools seeking to elevate the arts. We also hope our visits continue to be an encouragement to middle schoolers who are pursuing the fine arts, and who will grow into their talents as future high school choral students.

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We were thrilled to hear the KMAM Choir students had actually been asking KIPP faculty when they would see their friends from Houston High again. When Agape North gives, they try to do it in a way that feels more like partnership than charity. How could we not go back to KMAM once we saw the enthusiasm to continue the partnership from both sides? So, in the fall of 2017, Agape North and Houston High School Choirs once again gifted more choir shirts, alleviating a budget item for the second consecutive year. In addition, Houston High School’s Concert Choir, performed for the students in the Middle School and High School Choir programs at KIPP. Following the brief concert, students from each of the schools paired together to share experiences and learn from each other. Finally, the students at KMAM gave the Houston Choir students a tour of their school. The KIPP students were incredibly proud to show off their school to the Houston, and the Houston students thoroughly enjoyed learning the story of another school in our great city.

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Moving ahead, Houston High Choirs look forward to the continued relationship with KMAM and Agape North. It is rewarding to give, but more importantly it is educational for the students of both schools to learn and grow together. We are extremely appreciative of the vision and mission of Agape North that facilitates this relationship.

Dr. Rayburn, Houston High School Choir Director