Local News Articles

Haley Marie Hale Captures Fall Fest Crown

November 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Haley Marie Hale Captures Fall Fest Crown
Fall Fest Queen and Runners-Up
Miss Congeniality Hannah Renea Walker

Haley Marie Hale captured the Fall Fest Crown Saturday night during the annual pageant at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium. The event is sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

Nine young ladies ages 14-18 competed for the title.

Hale, the fifteen year old daughter of Chad and Melissa Hale of Smithville, succeeds the retiring Fall Fest Queen, 16 year old Lauren Ashley Medlin, daughter of Greg and Teresa Medlin of Smithville

First runner-up in the pageant was Tyra Grace Graham, the fourteen year old daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville.

Katie Sue Haggard was second runner-up. She is the eighteen year old daughter of David and Vicki Haggard of Smithville.

Seventeen year old Rebekah Grace Webb, daughter of C.D. and Cindy Webb of Dowelltown was the third runner-up.

Fourth runner-up went to Liz Abigail Qualls of Smithville, the fifteen year old daughter of Brad and Kim Trapp and Jason and Stormy Qualls.

Meanwhile, Hannah Renea Walker was named Miss Congeniality. She is the fourteen year old daughter of Scott and Misty Walker of Smithville.

Others in the pageant were sixteen year old Jayde Nokes of Smithville, daughter of Toby and Jamie Nokes; seventeen year old MaKayla Shea Funk of Dowelltown, daughter of Amie Funk; and fifteen year old Brooke Roller of Smithville, daughter of Richard and Rose Roller.

(Top Photo: Fall Fest Queen Haley Marie Hale)
(Middle Photo: Left to Right- Liz Abigail Qualls-4th Runner-Up, Katie Sue Haggard-2nd Runner-Up, Haley Marie Hale-Fall Fest Queen, Tyra Grace Graham-1st Runner-Up, and Rebekah Grace Webb-3rd Runner-Up)
(Bottom Photo: Hannah Renea Walker-Miss Congenality)

Morgan Faith Green Wins Autumn Sweetheart Pageant

November 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Morgan Faith Green Wins Autumn Sweetheart Pageant
Autumn Sweetheart and Runners-Up
Madison Faith Whitehead Miss Congeniality

13 year old Morgan Faith Green won the 2012 Autumn Sweetheart pageant Saturday night.

The beauty contest, sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club, was held at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium. Sixteen contestants, ages 11-14 competed for the crown.

Green, daughter Suzanne and Jon Harrison of Smithville, succeeds the 2011 Autumn Sweetheart, 14 year old Tyra Grace Graham, daughter of Kyle and Doris Graham of Smithville

First runner-up in the pageant was Sarah Anne Colwell, the twelve year old daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville.

Addison Grace Oakley of Liberty, the eleven year old daughter of Clark and Lisa Oakley was second runner-up.

Third runner-up went to Macy Elizabeth Hedge . She is the twelve year old daughter of David and Trina Hedge of Smithville

Destiny Danielle Franklin, fourth runner-up, is the thirteen year old daughter of Charlie and Jennifer Ware of Smithville.

Madison Faith Whitehead was named Miss Congeniality. She is the 11 year old daughter of Keneth and Tina Whitehead of Smithville

Others in the top ten were Jessica Price, the fourteen year old daughter of Charles Stubbe of Smithville; Julia Grace Curtis, the eleven year old daughter of Bruce and Amy Curtis of Smithville; Abigail Hope Taylor, the twelve year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville; Brooklynn Storm Estes, the twelve year old daughter of Chris and Shanna Bogle of Smithville; and Kaitlyn Elizabeth Roller, the thirteen year old daughter of John and Michele Roller of Smithville.

The rest of the contestants were twelve year old Anna Rachel Blair of Smithville, daughter of Keith and Amanda Blair; eleven year old Shaunta Rose Koegler of Smithville, daughter of Brian and Leticia Koegler; eleven year old Shelby Sprague of Smithville, daughter of Jimmy and Johnna Sprague; thirteen year old Kyra Orlando of Smithville, daughter of Shellie Bain and Shane Orlando; and thirteen year old Susan Marie Webb of Dowelltown, daughter of C.D. and Cindy Webb.

(Top Photo: Autumn Sweetheart Morgan Faith Green)
(Middle Photo: Left to Right- Destiny Danielle Franklin-4th Runner-Up, Addison Grace Oakley-2nd Runner-Up, Morgan Faith Green-Autumn Sweetheart, Sarah Anne Colwell- 1st Runner-Up, and Macy Elizabeth Hedge-3rd Runner-Up)
(Bottom Photo- Madison Faith Whitehead-Miss Congeniality)

Addison Jean Puckett Crowned Autumn Princess

November 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Addison Puckett Crowned Autumn Princess
Autumn Princess and Runners-Up
Talon Kendall Billings Miss Manners (Photo provided by Smithville Review)

Eight year old Addison Jean Puckett is the 2012 Autumn Princess

Puckett, daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett of Smithville, succeeds the retiring Autumn Princess, Anna Rachel Blair, the eleven year old daughter of Keith and Amanda Blair of Smithville.

The pageant, featuring twenty eight girls ages 7 to 10, was sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club and held Saturday at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium.

First runner-up was Madison Rae Rackley, the nine year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville

Second runner-up was seven year old Alexis Danyelle Rigsby, the daughter of Caleb and April Rigsby of Smithville

Seven year old McKenzie Faith Sanders, daughter of James and Misti Sanders of Smithville was named third runner-up.

Natalie Morgan Snipes was fourth runner-up. She is the eight year old daughter of Tim and Michelle Snipes of Smithville.

Talon Kendall Billings was named Miss Manners. She is the nine year old daughter of Jerry and Sandra Billings of Billings Road, Sparta.

Rounding out the top ten were eight year old Addison Roller, the daughter of John and Chana Roller of Smithville; ten year old Sophia Helane Mahan, the daughter of David and Melody Mahan of Dowelltown; Kyleigh Breanne Hill, the eight year old daughter Kyle Hill and Colleen Clary of Smithville; Ellisyn Kelsey Cripps, the nine year old daughter of Troy and Jamie Cripps of Smithville; and Mary Grace King, the ten year old daughter of Scott and Michelle King of Smithville.

Others participating in the pageant were:
Eight year old Maggie Fay Felton of Smithville, daughter of Misty and Russell Ross and Adam Felton; eight year old Jillian Elizabeth Lockard of Smithville, daughter of Brittany Lockard and John Lockard; eight year old Keirstine Robinson of Smithville, daughter of Nick and Stacey Robinson; eight year old Mackenzie Leigh Sprague of Smithville, daughter of Wanda Sprague; seven year old Carlee Elizabeth West of Smithville, daughter of D.J. and Megan Stewart; ten year old Malia Nichole Stanley of Dowelltown, daughter of Steve Stanley and Larry and Phyllis Stanley; nine year old Kennedy Grace Agee of Liberty, daughter of Josh and January Agee; ten year old Kaitlyn Ann George of Smithville, daughter of Ashley and Frankie Bryant and Jeff and Kim Walls; ten year old Payton Brook Bowman of Smithville, daughter of Mike and Lisa Bowman; seven year old Kenlee Renae Taylor of Smithville, daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor; nine year old Alexis Grace Atnip of Smithville, daughter of Veronica Atnip; eight year old Sarah Elizabeth Mahan of Dowelltown, daughter of David and Melody Mahan; ten year old Trista Lopez of Smithville, daughter of Tammy Nokes; ten year old Haylie Lockard of Smithville, daughter of John and Brittany Lockard; eight year old Ellie Elizabeth Webb of Dowelltown, daughter of C.D. and Cindy Webb; eight year old Kadee Beth Ferrell of Smithville, daughter of Anthony and Trena Ferrell; and ten year old Jaley Grace Hale of Smithville, daughter of Mike and Tara Hale.

(Top Photo: Autumn Princess Addison Jean Puckett)
(Bottom Photo: Left to Right: Natalie Morgan Snipes-4th Runner-Up, Alexis Danyelle Rigsby-2nd Runner-Up, Addison Jean Puckett-Autumn Princess, Madison Rae Rackley-1st Runner-Up, McKenzie Faith Sanders-3rd Runner-Up)

Tremor from Kentucky Earthquake Felt in DeKalb County

November 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 4.3-magnitude earthquake struck eight miles west of Whitesburg, Kentucky on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The tremor was felt by many in DeKalb County.

"I had gone down the hallway to the restroom to brush my teeth and the floor started shaking under me," said Janice Zoller, who resides on Antioch Road in the Keltonburg area. "The things setting on the sink and on the back of the commode were shaking. I thought, my washing machine is really off balance, and then I realized I didn't have my washing machine on. I thought, this has to be a tremor from an earthquake somewhere because it was pretty shaky. It shook the whole floor under my feet. I was surprised. I think it lasted five or six seconds. It was enough that you really knew something was going on," said Zoller.

Barbara Noyola, a caretaker for a resident on New Home Road, said she also felt the tremor." I was sitting there in the chair and all at once the house just shook and the dishes rattled and it was very intense. It was like a hard shake. It was for two, three or four seconds. It just floored me because I've never experienced anything like that. It was scary," she said.

The epicenter of the shallow, light earthquake was 0.7 miles deep under the Appalachian Mountains town of Blackey, near the Virginia border, the agency said.

There were no immediate reports of damage in the eastern Kentucky area.

The tremor was felt from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Atlanta, Ga., USGS geophysicist Paul Caruso told NBC News.

Tigers Eliminated from State Play-Offs by Livingston Academy

November 9, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers lost 37-14 at Livingston Academy Friday night in the second round of the 2012 Division I BlueCross Bowl Class 4A Football Playoffs. With the loss, the Tigers have been eliminated and wrap up the season at 10-2. Both losses were to Livingston Academy.

The Tigers got the ball to start the game and scored on a nine play, 80 yard drive. Will Molander caught a four yard touchdown pass from quarterback Lucas Phillips. Ben Driver converted the extra point and DC led 7-0 with 7:49 left in the first period.

The Wildcats got on the board with 1:55 left in the first period on a 29 yard field goal by Eli Saddler

Livingston Academy took the lead with 2:10 left in the second period on a four yard touchdown run by quarterback Brock McCoin. Eli Saddler converted the extra point and the score at the half was 10-7 in favor of Livingston Academy.

The Wildcats extended their lead with 7:14 left in the third period on a 19 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Brock McCoin to Wade Eldridge. The P.A.T. by Eli Saddler was good and Livingston Academy led 17-7.

DeKalb County answered on the ensuing kick-off on a 90 yard return by Devonte Miland. Ben Driver converted on the extra point and the Tigers cut the Wildcat lead to 17-14.

Livingston Academy went up 24-14 with 2:43 left in the third period on a nine yard touchdown run by quarterback Brock McCoin. The extra point kick by Eli Saddler was good.

Brock McCoin, on fourth and 16, found Mark Winningham on a 31 yard touchdown pass play. The extra point attempt by Eli Saddler was no good but Livingston Academy led 30-14 with 5:12 left in the fourth period.

The Wildcats scored their last touchdown of the night with 4:02 left in the game on an 18 yard pass from Mark Winningham to Brock McCoin. The extra point by Eli Saddler was good and Livingston Academy went on to win 37-14.

Smithville Elementary Students Pay Tribute to DeKalb County Veterans

November 9, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Veterans

A Veterans Appreciation assembly program was held Friday morning at Smithville Elementary School in recognition of Veteran's Day.

Kelly Birmingham led students from pre-K to the second grade in singing "God Bless the USA" and other patriotic songs in honor of veterans who have served in each branch of the military.

M2U00891 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Adrienne McCormick read the following "Veterans Day" poem by Cheryl Dyson:

"On Veterans Day we honor all,
Who answered to a service call,
Soldiers young, and soldiers old,
Fought for freedom, brave and bold

M2U00890 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Some have lived, while others died,
And all of them deserve our pride,
We're proud of all the soldiers who,
Kept thinking of red, white, and blue,

They fought for us and all our rights,
They fought through many days and nights,
And though we may not know each name,
We thank ALL veterans just the same."

The purpose of the assembly was to honor veterans and try to instill in these children at an early
age the importance of the men and women who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country.

Veterans attending the assembly program pictured above are:

Front Row: Toddy Reynolds, Guy Mathis, Alan Stenger, Edward Frazier,
Ronnie Redmon, Sr.

Middle Row: Ray Vaughn, Mike Hattaway, Edsell Frazier, Paul Cantrell,
Jimmy Sprague, Billy Miller

Back Row: Kenny Dyal, Travis Thomas, Walter Johnson, John Hummer, Jim
Dean, Garry Davis, Norman Emmert, William Winter, Tom Hutcheson

School Lunchrooms Required to Meet New Federal Nutrition Standards

November 9, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

In school lunchrooms in DeKalb County and across the nation, new federal nutrition standards have been implemented intended to cut the fat.

The changes are in response to the epidemic of childhood obesity. A third of young people are now either overweight or obese, according to federal data, and the new lunches are designed to encourage healthier eating habits in the 32 million students nationwide who eat school lunches.

The Healthy and Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 updated nutrition standards, mandating things such as more whole grains and fruits and vegetables, while limiting fat, sodium and calories. Districts must meet the guidelines to receive federal money for their lunch programs.

(PLAY VIDEO OF CINDY COOPER BELOW FOR DETAILS ABOUT NEW FEDERAL SCHOOL NUTRITION REGULATIONS)

M2U00886 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

The new nutrition standards for school meals spell out dramatic changes, including slashing sodium, limiting calories and offering students a wider variety and larger portions of fruits and vegetables.

Cindy Cooper, Southeast Regional School Nutrition Consultant for the state, addressed the DeKalb County Board of Education on this issue Thursday night. She said the new regulations took effect July 1st.

The federal government will give schools an additional 6 cents a lunch to meet the standards. When the rules are fully implemented, the cost of preparing a healthier lunch that meets the new rules is estimated to rise by about 11 cents, and the cost of preparing a breakfast is estimated to increase by 28 cents, the USDA says. The agency estimates that the increased cost of producing meals that meet the standard will be $3.2 billion over five years

FEMA Grant Approved for DeKalb West School Safe Rooms

November 9, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The school system has received final approval for a FEMA grant to fund a classroom addition at DeKalb West School, including eight tornado "safe rooms". During Thursday night's meeting, the Board of Education gave tentative approval to hire Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris of Mount Juliet as the architects for the project, subject to final approval by the board once the contract has been reviewed and accepted.

M2U00882 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects updated the school board on the project "At long last, we got our final approval letters from the state and FEMA and the last of the hoops to jump through were approved for our grant at DeKalb West," said Brown.

"The next thing that will happen is you'll get a contract from the state that documents the 12 1/2% that they are going to put toward this (project) because if you'll remember out of the total grant, FEMA is going to take care of 75% and then the state of Tennessee is going to kick in another 12 1/2% which only leaves 12 ½%. That is what we've been waiting for. Its about eight weeks later than I thought it would be. We submitted (grant application) in March. We had heard from the state that everything looked good and that they were passing you on to Atlanta (FEMA office). Its what we've been waiting for and we can now move ahead with the project," said Brown.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency had earlier approved grant funds of more than $1.5 million for the safe room project at DeKalb West School, pending final approval by FEMA in Atlanta. The spending plan calls for $600,000 in local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building eight tornado "safe rooms" at DeKalb West School. The proposed addition would be constructed in the front of the school, including eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area.

The county commission, in July, approved funding for the plan in the form of a $3.4 million note to cover the $600,000 grant match for the safe room project along with an $850,000 cafeteria and kitchen renovation project at DeKalb West School as well as roofing projects at DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Smithville Elementary School.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the school board on personnel moves since last month.

Rachel Seal, LPN has been hired as a substitute school nurse. Josh Lawson has been transferred from a substitute bus driver to a full time route. Jimmy Mullican, a school bus driver who died during the fall break, was also remembered by Director Willoughby and the board.

The school board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring Director Willoughby.

The resolution states that "Whereas, our Superintendent has upheld the distinction and honor of his position by making decisions based on integrity and honesty and by practicing effective leadership; and

Whereas, our superintendent creates a budget for our district and provides the resources necessary for our schools within the confinements of the budget; and

Whereas, our superintendent strives for excellence in every aspect of his job and encourages his staff and students to do the same; and

Whereas, he provides support for the programs at the schools, helping students and faculty grow and develop academically and socially, and has built support within the community for our school system.

Therefore, Be It Hereby Resolved, that the Board of Education officially recognizes the continued services of Mr. Willoughby to the students of DeKalb County and extends its appreciation for his work to enhance the learning environment of the students in our district;

Be It Further Resolved, that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby declares November 20, 2012 as Superintendent Appreciation Day in DeKalb County.

Be It Further Resolved, that each school principal take necessary measures to implement Utrust's Employee Appreciation Program in their school, by recognizing superintendents this month".

The DeKalb County School System was written up in the latest state audit report for a school federal projects fund cash overdraft in the amount of $96,023 as of June 30, 2012.

Director Willoughby said the reason for the overdraft is because the school system did not receive its federal reimbursement of grant expenditures in time to cover it.

In order to keep this from reoccurring, the school board Thursday night adopted a resolution to transfer $80,000 from the local option sales tax sinking fund to the federal projects fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013 to cover any potential overdraft.

The resolution states "Whereas, Federal Projects grants operate on a reimbursement basis and funds are requested from the State of Tennessee by DeKalb County for non-payroll expenditures on a monthly basis; and

Whereas, the Federal Projects fund operates with a cash deficit at various times throughout the fiscal year due to a slow turn-around time for reimbursements from the State of Tennessee; and

Whereas, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles consider a cash deficit in any fund to be a significant deficiency in internal control; and

Whereas, DeKalb County does not desire to operate any fund with a cash deficit.

Now Therefore, Be It Resolved, by the Board of Education of DeKalb County, a school district in Tennessee, meeting in regular session on November 8, 2012, and by the County Commission of DeKalb County that

Section 1. Local Option Sales Tax-Sinking Fund shall transfer $80,000 to the Federal Projects Funds following approval of this Resolution by both parties.

Section 2. The $80,000 transfer shall remain in the Federal Projects Fund as a designated fund balance from the Local Option Sales Tax-Sinking Fund and may be repaid at any time as noted in a resolution passed by the Board of Education and County Commission.

Section 3. This resolution will take effect upon the approval of both governing parties. The Secretary of the Board of Education shall include this Resolution in the minutes of the DeKalb County School System. The DeKalb County Clerk shall include this Resolution in the minutes of DeKalb County".

Unless Congress and the Administration take action, drastic cuts and massive tax increases will be coming in January under the Budget Control Act or what is known as "sequestration".

The school board Thursday night adopted a resolution asking that the Congress and the Administration amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts in education.

The resolution states that "Whereas, a world class public education is essential for the future success of our nation and today's school children; and

Whereas, the Budget Control Act of 2011 includes a provision to impose $1.2 trillion in across-the-board budget cuts to almost all federal programs including education that would become effective January 2, 2013; and

Whereas, these across-the-board budget cuts would impact school districts during the 2013-14 school year, with the exception of the Impact Aid program, with which a reduction would become effective this school year; and

Whereas, these across-the-board budget cuts, also known as sequestration, would impact education by a reduction in funds of 8.2% or more and could result in larger class sizes, fewer course offerings, possible four-day school weeks, loss of extracurricular activities, and teacher and staff lay-offs; and

Whereas, sequestration would impact almost every public school system in the nation and the millions of students educated through programs such as Title I grants for disadvantaged students, the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act, English Language Acquisition, Career and Technical Educational, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, and more; and

Whereas, DeKalb County, as well as other public schools, would be impacted nationwide by an estimated $2.7 billion loss from just three programs alone–Title I grants, IDEA special education state grants and Head Start–that serve a combined 30.7 million children; and

Whereas, federal funding for K-12 programs was already reduced by more than $835 million in Fiscal Year 2011, and state and local funding for education continues to be impacted by budget cuts and lower local property tax revenues; and

Whereas, states and local governments have very limited capacity to absorb further budget cuts from sequestration, as DeKalb County has already implemented cuts commensurate to state and local budget conditions;

Now Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the DeKalb County Commission urges Congress and the Administration to amend the Budget Control Act to mitigate the drastic cuts to education that would affect our students and communities, and to protect education as an investment critical to economic stability and American competitiveness.

Adopted this the 8th day of November 2012, by the DeKalb County Board of Education, Smithville. A copy of this Resolution shall be included in the minutes of the DeKalb County School System, and sent to the National School Board Association".

Farm Service Agency County Committee Elections Underway

November 8, 2012
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency, announced that the 2012 FSA county committee elections are underway as ballots were mailed to eligible voters in Local Administrative Area # 1 on November 5th. December 3rd, 2012, is the deadline for eligible voters to return ballots, either post marked in the mail or delivered in person, to their local FSA offices.

"The FSA county committee system is unique among government agencies, because it allows producers to make important decisions concerning the local administration of federal farm programs," said Green. "I urge all eligible farmers and ranchers, especially minorities and women, to get involved and make a real difference in their communities by voting in this year's elections."

Committee members apply their knowledge and judgment to make decisions on disaster and conservation payments, establishment of allotments and yields, producer appeals, employing FSA county executive directors and other local issues. FSA committees operate within official regulations designed to carry out federal laws.

To be an eligible voter, farmers and ranchers must participate or cooperate in FSA programs. A person who is not of legal voting age, but supervises and conducts the farming operations of an entire farm, can also vote. Agricultural producers in each county submitted candidate names during the nomination period held last summer.

Eligible voters in Local Administrative Area # 1 who do not receive a ballot can obtain a ballot at their local USDA Service Center. December 3rd, 2012, is the last day for voters to submit ballots in person to local USDA Service Centers. Ballots returned by mail must be postmarked no later than December 3rd. Newly elected committee members and alternates take office January 1st, 2013.

For more information about FSA county committees and FSA programs, visit: http://www.fsa.usda.gov.

Longtime Educator Retires from School System

November 7, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joy Parker

After more than thirty years as an educator, Joy Parker has retired from the school system. But while her teaching career may be over, Parker has no intention of slowing down.

She has already taken another job, working for attorney Gayla Hendrix as a secretary.

Parker's retirement as a teacher became effective last month and though excited about the new job, she has mixed emotions about leaving behind the one she's known for much of her life. "I always wanted to teach school. I loved that job. Its been a great job for me. It was way more emotional to leave it than I realized it might be. I'm very excited to do something new but it was kind of bittersweet to leave what I've loved for thirty years," she said.

A graduate of DeKalb County High School, Parker furthered her education at MTSU where she earned a BS degree with endorsements in elementary and special education. Soon after she landed a job with the local school system. "I graduated in December, 1981. I started as a substitute teacher and was later hired in the fall of 1982. I taught special education for fourteen years at DeKalb Middle School. I left there and went to Smithville Elementary to teach fourth grade. I did that for twelve years and in that process I moved to Northside. Four years ago I moved back to the Middle School where I started teaching special education again," said Parker.

Although she enjoyed being a regular classroom teacher, Parker said her first love was working with special education students. "The special education class that I taught is called the Comprehensive Development Class. Its often referred to as CDC. At that time when I started teaching, there was one CDC classroom in this county and that was at the Middle School. We had children from five and six years old all the way to twenty one. So when I started teaching school I had several students who were almost as old as I was. And then I had little bitty guys running around. I look back at that and they were great years. They are some of my best memories. The kids I've had over the years have truly influenced me a lot. And especially when you work with special ed students. Just to watch them day to day, they are very motivating. When you teach special ed, you have the same kids for several years in a row so you get really attached to those students. I got attached to fourth grade students I had for one year. But when you teach special ed you have that child for maybe three years. And years ago when I started, we had kids in that class for seven, eight, and nine years in a row. So by the time you work with a child for that long, you know every member of their family. You know everything about them and you get very attached," she said.

While she enjoyed her years as an educator, Parker said she is anxious to try something new. "I've gone to work for Hendrix Law Office. I'm learning how to be a secretary. I think its going to be fun. Gayla and I have been friends for years. We grew up together. Our fathers were friends in high school. Our families have been close. I think we'll have a big time. I'm looking forward to learning something new," said Parker.

Parker said she is thankful for the opportunity to have worked in the school system for so many years. "I really would like to thank Mr. Willoughby and Randy Jennings. They have given me a great send off and made me feel like they appreciated what I did. That's always a good feeling when you teach school. To feel like you've done something that benefitted kids and you helped out the school system," she concluded.

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