Lake Life

& Such

Boy Scout Troop #398 meets at the Cedar Creek Bible Church from 7-8:30 p.m. each Tuesday. For more information, call (903) 498-5725 or (903) 498-3830.
Cedar Creek Art Society meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the last Thursday of each month at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. A $3 donation per artist is asked.
Cedar Creek Domino Club meets each week on Wednesday at the Mabank Volunteer Fire Department. For more info, call (903) 887-6549.
Cedar Creek
NAR-ANON meets at 8 p.m. on Thursday at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek Narcotics Anonymous meets at 8 p.m., Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, at 715 S. Hwy. 274, Ste. D in Seven Points. (903) 432-2405.
Cedar Creek 49ers Club meets every Thursday for fellowship and dancing. Doors open at 6 p.m. The club is located off Arnold Hill Road in Seven Points. Call for more information, (903) 432-3552.
Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Wednesday at Seasons Restaurant in Mabank, except the second week of the month, when the club meets Thursday in conjunction with the area chamber of commerce luncheon.
Cedar Creek Optimist Club meets every Tuesday at noon at the Dairy Queen in Seven Points. For more information please call Danny Hampel at (903) 778-4508.
Cedar Creek Republican Club meets every fourth Thursday. For more information call (903) 887-4867.
Cedar Creek Rotary Club meets at noon each Friday at Vetoni’s Italian Restaurant. For more information, call Dee Ann Owens at (903) 340-2415.
Cub Scout Pack #333 meets at the First United Methodist Church of Mabank the second and fourth Monday at 7 p.m. For information, call Mary Harris at (903) 451-5280 or Tonya Capley at (903) 498-4725.
Disabled American Veterans Chapter 101 meets the second Monday of each month at the Senior Citizens Center on Hwy. 31 in Athens.
Girl Scout Troop #112 meets at the First United Methodist Church in Mabank on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. For more info, call GeriLeigh Stotts at (469) 323-7943, email,   or (800) 422-2260 or visit
Girl Scout Troop 2667 meets every Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aley United Methodist Church. For more information, please call Suzann Smith at (903) 887-3889.
GriefShare Recovery support group meets at 7 p.m. each Tuesday at Cedar Creek Church of God, located at 142 Rodney Dr., Gun Barrel City. Call (903) 887-0293 for more information.
Gun Barrel Quilter’s Guild meets from 10 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. For more information, please call (903) 451-4221.
Henderson County Retired School Personnel meets at 2 p.m. the second Wednesday each month at the First United Methodist Church of Athens. Call (903) 451-3585 for info.
Kaufman County Republican Women’s Club meets the third Saturday of each month at the Farm Bureau Insurance Company, located at 2477 N. Hwy. 34 in Kaufman. For more info, call (972) 287-1239 or (903) 880-6770.
Kemp Kiwanis Club meets at noon each Thursday at La Fuente Mexican Restaurant in Kemp. For more information, please call Dr. Jim Collinsworth at (903) 887-7486.
Lake Area Council of the Blind meets at 6 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month at West Athens Baptist Church.
Lake Area Democrats Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month at the Library at Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points. Email   for more information.
Mabank Al-Anon Family Group meets at 6 p.m. on Tuesdays at Mabank First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. Families of alcoholics are welcome. Call (903) 887-2781 for info.
Mabank/Cedar Creek Area Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at the Tri-County Library in Mabank. Call (903) 887-5252 for info.
Mabank Garden Club meets at 2:45 p.m. at the Tri-County Library on the third Tuesday of every month (different times in May and December).
Oak Harbor/Tanglewood Crime Watch meets at 7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month at the R.T. Beamguard Community Center in Oak Harbor.
Rainbow Girls, Masonic Youth organization meets on the second and fourth Saturdays at 10 a.m. at the Cedar Creek Masonic Lodge. For more information contact Donna Dean at
Roddy Masonic Lodge meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Monday each month. Call (903) 887-6201 for info.
RootSeekers meet at 7 p.m. on the third Monday of the month in the Tri-County Library in downtown Mabank. The public is welcome to attend.
Southeast Kaufman County Senior Citizens Center Board of Directors meets at 1 p.m. on the fourth Thursday of each month at the center, located at 300 N. Dallas Street in Kemp. For info, call (903) 498-2140.
Suicide Survivors Group for those grieving the loss of someone by suicide, meets every Monday at 6:30 p.m. at First United Methodist Church in Mabank.
Tamarack Ladies Club meets at 11 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at the TLC Hall.
TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) meet at 6 p.m. each Monday at the First Baptist Church of Mabank. Contact Gaye Ward at (903) 887-5913 for more info.
TVCC Singles meet at 7 p.m. each Monday in the Nutrition Center at TVCC, located off Park Street near the Athens Country Club. This is a support group for singles of all ages and is supported by TVCC. For more info, call Hilda Anding at (903) 675-7270.

Teachers turning school’s courtyard into classroom
Courtyard cutouts making playtime teaching time
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

EUSTACE–When the new additions to the Eustace Primary School were completed a couple of years ago, one of the most-anticipated improvements was the central paved courtyard.
However, some of the teachers were disappointed with how ... well, plain the finished courtyard looked.
There were concrete benches scattered around the edges and a big compass etched into the center of the courtyard’s concrete floor, but that was about it, as far as decoration – no planters, no bright colors on the dark-red brick walls.
“I think their (the school board’s) concern was maintenance and upkeep,” veteran EPS teacher Susanne Pharmakis said. “As teachers, we envisioned it as an extension of the classroom. It would have been nice to have some greenery out there.”
Going into her third year (11th overall) as the EPS gifted and talented teacher, along with music and art, Pharmakis kept looking for something else to bring the classroom into the courtyard.
It was a field trip to the Discover Science Place in downtown Tyler that inspired Pharmakis.
She saw kids having a great time playing with dozens of hands-on exhibits, which also just happened to be teaching critical science, math, art and music lessons.
“Watching children role-play – and take their time, most importantly, since everything is usually so rush, rush, rush – it was just delightful,” Pharmakis said. “That’s when it hit me – we could re-create the structures here (in the courtyard) for our own children.”
Pharmakis heard of Home Depot’s “building communities grant,” aimed at generating more community involvement, and decided to write to the corporation and explain what she was envisioning.
To her surprise, Home Depot offered her a $2,500 grant.
“I think it was amazing that we would get something like that from Home Depot, when their nearest store is 80 or 90 miles away,” Pharmakis said.
She, in turn, ran the idea past Eustace ISD superintendent Dr. Coy Holcombe.
“He wanted something unique, that no other school has,” she recalled.
Pharmakis enlisted the help of husband Rusty (a teacher at the Mabank ISD) to begin building the first play/teach construction – the interior of a school bus, inspired by the “Magic Bus” PBS science-based television series.
The school bus was placed in the northeast corner of the courtyard, and a construction inspired by the “Magic Treehouse” book series went in the northwest corner.
Both the treehouse and the bus inspire kids to climb and crawl, helping them to be physically active during the school day.
“Teachers had been out there reading books,” Pharmakis said. “Who knows where their (the kids’) imagination will take them?”
“I’m excited,” special ed teacher Lindsey Westmoreland said. “I sit at home and think up great ideas.”
Westmoreland and her mother re-created permanent versions of classroom posters urging students to read, which have been mounted on the northwest wall.
“I want to do a hometown,” Westmoreland said.
The hometown project (she explained) would include a one-room school classroom, with a chalkboard and a few old-time desks, along with a veterinary clinic, a pizza place and a grocery store, where students could get ingredients to “cook” a meal, as well as learn how to handle money and make change.
“We’ve also talked about a boat and a pier,” Westmoreland said. “I also want to put up more of the regular classroom posters, just to put some more color out there.”
In addition to the bus and treehouse, there are two standing games, one featuring a Ben Franklin magic squares puzzle, and the other a Chinese tangram shape puzzle.
The Ben Franklin game features three rows of wooden blocks with numbers from 1-9 on one side.
“You try to get all of the rows to add up to 15,” Pharmakis explained. “On the other side (of the blocks), there are Xs and Os for tic-tac-toe.”
At the tangrams box, kids try to put the painted wood shapes together to form different geometric figures, such as squares, triangles and parallelograms.
On the sides of both boxes, there are giant shoes with shoestrings, enabling kids to practice lacing up and tying shoes.
Because modern children’s shoes almost always feature Velcro® fasteners, many younger students have never learned how to tie a shoe, Pharmakis said.
In the center of the courtyard, there is a big Y-shaped set of panels. Each of the Y arms has painted panels with holes.
When kids stick their faces through the holes, they can appear to be doctors, policemen, nurses, astronauts or the farmer-and-wife pair in the classic “American Gothic” painting.
The bottom of the Y has two large murals on each side.
“It was Rusty’s idea to do the planets on one side and the continents on the other side,” Pharmakis said.
If you have an idea or want to help with this ongoing project, contact Pharmakis through the EPS office at (903) 425-5191, or e-mail her at



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