Willis graduate takes stage in front of millions of viewers


photo or infographic by courtesy of Alexis McLaughlin

BIG DREAMS. After making it to the blind audition portion of The Voice, Wildkat alum Alexis McLaughlin did not advance to the next round of the talent show. McLaughlin credits the Wildkat Choir program with igniting her passion for performance and promises this small setback will not stop her from chasing her dreams.

Lights. Camera. Action.

As the singer starts singing the words to the 80’s ballad, the judges jam to the tune. It is clear by their faces they are contemplating pushing the button. All she needs is John, Blake, Camilla or Gwen to push the button and she would be set.

For 2015 graduate Alexis McLaughlin, the last night’s episode of “The Voice” was not what she hoped. After singing her song, the Whitesnake hit “Here I Go Again” the judges did not move her to the next round. This will not stop her love of performing or her drive to live her dream. 

“I wanted to start performing because I loved the fire I felt inside when I played for a crowd,”  McLaughlin said. “I think music is such a powerful thing and it has a way of connecting people and there is just truly nothing like the feeling of being connected to people you’ve never met! It’s the closest thing on earth to magic, in my opinion.”

McLaughlin is currently a music teacher at Cannan Elementary School. Her participation in the Wildkat Choir program was a driving factor to eventually take the stage.

AT HOME. Willis graduate Alexis McLaughlin sings on stage at a local gig. After earning a degree from Mary Hardin Baylor, she now teaches music at Cannan while pursuing her music career. (photo or infographic by courtesy of Alexis McLaughlin)

“I think my music career really started in Willis,” McLaughlin said. “I had been playing and singing since I was 10, but it wasn’t until high school with Mr. Labonski that I truly started to find my passion for music and performing. This is where it all started and I think having so much support then with my music is what makes this town feel so much like a part of who I am as a person and musician.”

Extracurricular activities are something that students take pride in more than their main core academics. Core classes are something that is required by the school, but the extracurriculars and electives are something that the student gets to choose based on what they want to achieve later on in life. It was in her choir elective that McLaughlin found her voice and her creativity.

“Choir truly sparked my creative side of music. I started to learn harmonies and I would experiment with mashing up different songs together for programs and solos,” McLaughlin said. “I was not great at academics and oftentimes felt less than in school, but when I stepped into the choir room, I felt like I had purpose and that I could conquer the world. Choir helped me build myself as a young person and gave me direction for my future. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.”