Kids Aspiring to Dream celebrates 10 years

Melody Wiltz
Melody Wiltz(Kids Aspiring to Dream)
Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 10:20 AM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - Kids Aspiring to Dream (KATD) celebrated its 10th anniversary with its annual Light the Dream Gala.

Good Morning East Texas Weekend’s Andrea Valdez emceed the event on Saturday. Performers included Dulcinea and Sophie Coss, Melody Wiltz, Kianna Sanchez and Chynna Wilson.

Among the honorees at the event were Anetha Francis, Lisa Lininger, Nancy Michelle Taylor and Kristina Hastings.

KATD provides mentoring outreach to East Texas youth, in areas of the performing and visual arts. Established in 2012, the organization was founded with a goal to help benefit kids by providing scholarships and a platform for them to explore their talents.

KATD has provided various events and activities over the years, including that of the Light the Dream recognition and honors program. The event serves as a fundraiser for mentoring outreach and scholarships. The success of this program has also served to connect community leaders and recognize those who diligently support the organization. Their interest in KATD has truly made a difference in the lives of our youth.

This year, the Light the Dream event recognized area educators: those who inspire, motivate and bring healthy challenge to the lives of their students. Each educator was nominated by one of their very own students, adding a unique element to the category. The students who wrote nominations attested to the way each teacher made a tremendous impact upon their lives.

The theme of this year’s program, “Educators Who Light The Torch,” related to how educators, in shining their light, allow kids to shine in their own way.

This year’s honorees included Lisa Lininger, orchestra director at Tyler Legacy High School; Kristina Hastings, English as a Second Language Teacher at Moore MST Magnet School, TISD; Anetha Francis, BIM, Career Preparation & Accounting educator at Alto ISD; Nancy Michelle Taylor, English, Language Arts Reading teacher at Tyler High School; and Jerrod Tomlinson, Photography and Yearbook teacher at Legacy High School.

The event hosted musical performances by members of The East Texas Youth Orchestra, with KLTV’s News Anchor and Reporter Andrea Valdez as special guest speaker. George Faber also offered inspiring words to encourage all educators, and a silent auction was held to display works of art by community artists.