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TISKILWA — At the Tiskilwa High School alumni banquet this month, more than 190 former students and friends surprised Doris Hamilton. She was honored for all the musical memories she helped create at Tiskilwa High School.
Banquet organizers thought it was time for the high-spirited and loyal alumnus (class of 1950) of Tiskilwa High School to receive special recognition.
Known to her students first as Miss Travis and later as Mrs. Hamilton, she won students’ hearts with her talent, humor, dedication and ‘can-do’ attitude. Throughout her time at THS, more than 80 percent of the student body consistently participated in mixed chorus.
Sixty years ago, fresh from Western Illinois University with music degree in hand, Doris Travis began her teaching career as band and vocal director. For five decades, with a few years’ leave of absence when her children were born, she taught and inspired countless students in Tiskilwa Community Schools, retiring in 1994.
In 1972, she founded the show choir, “The Kids from Tiskilwa,” a popular group that traveled extensively, performing at many venues, including a special invitation to perform at Disney World and Sea World in Florida.
Hamilton also re-established the school musical, directing “South Pacific” in spring 1974. This tradition continued for years and included many Broadway musicals. In addition, Hamilton was the long-time sponsor/advisor of student council and cheerleaders.
Hamilton began directing the Homestead Festival musicals in Princeton in the 1976 bicentennial year with “1776.” She continued in that role until a few years ago, directing 35 musicals.
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