People, Places & Events



New MHS principal looking forward to new school year
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–A number of first- and second-year teachers starting at Mabank High School next month will “drastically” lower the staff’s average age, Cedar Creek Lake Kiwanis members heard.
Many of the 15 or 16 new teachers are just out of college, new Mabank High School principal Brad Koskelin told club members during their weekly luncheon Wednesday.
“They’ve got that enthusiasm that goes with youth,” Koskelin added with a grin. “They’re not jaded yet.”
Koskelin came to MHS a dozen years ago as a social studies teacher/coach, and has served as an assistant principal for the past five years.
He steps up to fill the position vacated when former “Principal of the Year” Tommy Wallis resigned to take the superintendent’s post at the Palestine Independent School District.
“I’m excited about the new year, and the new people we’ve brought on board,” Koskelin said.
Assistant basketball coach Jes Satterwhite has taken Koskelin’s assistant principal post, and Brent Fisher has moved from Mesquite Poteet High School to be the second assistant principal.
Mabank High School has been a “Recognized” campus for the past three years, and the goal is to become an “Exemplary” campus with improved scores on the TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) tests.
“It’s a very attainable goal for us,” Koskelin said. “The last two years, we’ve missed it by just a handful of kids.”
Koskelin said his focus this upcoming school year will be bringing the faculty together in a closer relationship.
“I think we’re not working together as we could,” he said. “Obviously, we’re working well together, or we wouldn’t have been doing as well as we have been.
“I’ve tried to do things that will help push us in that direction,” he added.
Staff members also will be continuing an effort to better prepare students to continue their educations at college or trade schools, Koskelin said.
Many students just don’t believe they can go to college, due to the cost, or think they won’t be able to perform well enough, he said.
“Our kids are just as capable as any kids in Highland Park – the (TAKS) scores show that,” he said. “They just have to know they can do it.”
Working with incoming freshmen and eighth graders helps them prepare for a college education, and counselors help older students secure financial aid through existing programs and scholarships.
“That’s the way I want to see our school go, and our faculty, as well,” Koskelin said. “I would put our faculty up against anybody’s in the state. They’re that good.”
With historically high gasoline prices, some area school districts have seen enrollment drop as parents move closer to the Metroplex, but Koskelin said Mabank ISD hasn’t seen an enrollment decline.
“The Mabank ISD is the best school district in the area, by far,” he said. “Look at the (TAKS) scores – we’re up there with the Highland Parks.
“People want to come to the Mabank ISD and Mabank High School, because it’s a great new facility,” he added.
Last year, at one point, the campus had more than 1,000 students, and turned in an enrollment of 987 for consideration in last February’s UIL realignment, he said.
“We’re looking to open up with right at that many students this year,” he said.
The hugely successful advisory program, where teachers contact the parents of a dozen or so students regularly to report on positive as well as negative activities, is one reason why MHS is retaining students.
“Any time you can have parent involvement, the kids are going to be that much more successful in school,”he said.
Parents typically are very involved with elementary-age students, but tend to not participate as much when the kids get older, he said.
“When kids get into high school, that’s when parents need to get that much more involved,” he said. “If anybody has any ideas on (how to do) that, feel free to call me.”
To help incoming freshmen get acclimated to the new pressures of high school, MHS always holds an orientation session, called “Fish Camp,” set this year for Monday, Aug. 18.
Parents and students tour the facility, meet teachers and participate in activities.
“Kids do fun things, but the student council (members) also talk about expectations, as well as the dress code and discipline,” Koskelin said.
“The key is the advisory program,” he added. “Positive referrals. We’ve kinda gotten away from that in the last couple of years, but we’re going to get back to that.
“Mom and dad love to get that positive call,” he said.
In club news, members were reminded there will be no meeting next Wednesday, Aug. 6, as a number of members will be attending a Kiwanis convention.
The following week’s Aug. 13 meeting also has been cancelled, as the club is sponsoring five teachers at the New Teacher Luncheon the next day at Mabank High School.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
New Mabank High School principal Brad Koskelin
speaks to Cedar Creek Kiwanis members at the club’s
weekly luncheon Wednesday.

Needy families may apply for help with school clothing
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Families with students attending Mabank or Eustace school districts may apply for the opportunity to pick out some brand-new clothes and shoes for their children with First United Methodist Church in Mabank from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays (closed noon to 1 p.m.) between now and when school starts.
The Family Resource Center, in cooporation with local churches and the VFW Auxiliary have banded together to help area families with the challenge of clothing their children for their return to school.
Toni Muirhead of the FRC has been collecting clothings, shoes and donations for clothing and is the prime mover behind this effort.
The application asks for proof of income, the student ‘s social security number, birth certificate and a record of benefits received by family members, including food stamps SSI, RSID, child support, workman’s comp, disability, etc. For more information, call Sue at the church at (903) 887-3691.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Representatives from the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, First United Methodist Church
in Mabank, First Baptist in Seven Points and the Family Resource Center met
July 31 at Brawner Hall to iron out a plan to help needy area families with school clothing.

Fair complex benefits both city and county
By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–The Henderson County Fairgrounds was not well known to many members of the Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake attending Friday’s weekly luncheon.
The facility ranks number one in the ability to draw motel/hotel and restaurant customers in Athens, Lee Tackett, chairman of the board of directors for the Henderson County Fair complex said.
“It is even above the Texas Fresh Water Fisheries Center,” he explained, adding, “There is virtually an event every weekend.”
The Henderson County Livestock Association deeded the property to the county.
“We are owned by the county, but the city of Athens benefits the most,” Tackett said.
Most of the events are free, as the complex gets its income from the rental of stalls and other equipment for the animals and even the concession stands, he explained.
“Citizens of Henderson County can bring their horses out and ride free of charge anytime there is not an event going on,” he added.
Such facilities are becoming more prevalent and more competitive, Tackett said, explaining there are plans to build and expand in the future.
The complex is looking for benefactors to help them build a climate controlled facility, where high school graduations, concerts and other events that attract a large crowd can be accommodated.
In other business, the Rotarians were reminded the Celebrity Waiter annual fund-raiser is set for Saturday, Aug. 16.
Silent and live auction items are still needed, as well as volunteers to help with setting up.

Monitor Photo/Barbara Gartman
Lee Tackett describes the benefits of the Henderson County Fairgrounds to
members and guests of the Rotary Club of Cedar Creek Lake Friday.

Come Adopt Us At
The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake

My name is Nelson. I am a beautiful male Dachshund. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. So far, I seem pretty laid back and gentle. I am a wonderful boy looking for my new forever home.

My name is Oreo. I am a beautiful female black Lab. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I seem to get along with other dogs. I need help with leash training. I have been started on my shots and need to be fixed. I am a beautiful girl looking for my new home.

We are a whole litter of Shepherd mix babies. We were brought to the shelter by animal control, so we have no history. We have been started on our first set of shots. We are good kids looking for our new forever homes.

I am a beautiful Border Collie, who is four months old, or so. I was brought to the shelter by animal control, so I have no history. I have not been at the shelter long, so not much is known about me. I am a beautiful kid looking for a new home.

Pictured are just a few animals at the Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake in Seven Points in dire need of a good home. Please call or stop by the Humane Society today and rescue one of these forgotten animals. The Humane Society of Cedar Creek Lake is located on 10220 County Road 2403 in
Seven Points. For more information, please call (903) 432-3422 after 11 a.m.
We are closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

For further information visit our website at


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