2022 Park Cities 4th of July Parade Recap

Donna Pierce wants to set the record straight.

Contrary to a tall tale circulating on July 4, Highland Park ISD’s longtime “Star Lady” hasn’t rocketed into orbit with Space X. 

But if Elon Musk decided to call, the 88-year-old retired astronomy teacher would certainly listen despite the trip necessitating a closed cockpit instead of the open one the licensed pilot favors.

Even without such a star trek, the Highland Park planetarium’s namesake had trouble coming back to earth after the Park Cities Fourth of July Parade.

“I’ve always thought of my life as a tapestry and wanted bright colors to be used, but never thought colors so bright from being a grand marshal were available,” Pierce said, recalling, “the out of the world experience of having crowds yelling my name, expressing their love and admiration, even cheers for, ‘Astronomy rules!’”

The Rotary Club of Park Cities views its grand marshals as an exclusive club of honorees chosen for service above self. Pierce fit the bill during 41 years with Highland Park ISD and a lifetime of dedication to the Girl Scouts.

Last year’s retirement didn’t stop her from joining another Astronomy Club trip to the McDonald Observatory in far West Texas.

The Rotary float precedes the grand marshal, but club president Jeff McNaughton noted that people saw Pierce before he even passed by and began yelling her name.

“My lawyer daughter from McAllen and her partner were kind of going up and down and getting pictures and hearing stories that I never ever would have heard,” Pierce said. “And when we got to Goar Park, people started coming. They were bringing their families. They were bringing their parents. And remembering. I was almost in tears.”

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