People, Places & Events



Graduates tell MHS students to work hard, remember friends
By Kerry Yancey
Monitor Staff Writer

MABANK–Golf pro, fast-rising country singer, decorated military veteran, venerated scribe – these Mabank High School graduates told current students to follow their dreams and work hard to achieve success.
Speaker after speaker at Tuesday night’s Panther Pride Night told students talent helps, but without persistence and hard work, talent won’t get you very far in the world outside high school.
About 500 students, graduates and visitors attended the annual beginning-of-school rally in the MHS auditorium, led off by a student who hasn’t graduated yet, but has already battled through more adversity than almost anyone, Chase Dickerson.
Born with a rare disease, Dickerson has gone through more than 30 surgeries, but continues to be an inspiration to graduates, teachers, administrators and students alike.
The gathering watched a Dallas Channel 4 television report about Dickerson and his invitation to the MHS junior-senior banquet as a sophomore last year.
Raini Welch, a 2003 graduate and aspiring country singer, performed a couple of inspirational numbers for the gathering, reminding them of the support they receive from the community.
Adrienne Gautreaux-McDonald, a touring golf pro and 1999 graduate, recalled her time representing MHS as a medalist at the state tournament, and spotlighted the 2008 girls team, the first girls golf team to advance to state in the school’s history.
Stephen F. Austin State University freshman Jordan Marshal, a 2008 graduate named first chair in the All-State Band, performed the classic hymn “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” for the gathering.
Two current students, Rustin Pool and David Stallings, read a letter from 1999 graduate and decorated military veteran Joey Nickel, who has literally traveled around the world since joining the service.
Following the evening’s theme “Small Town – Great Expectations,” a brand-new teacher (and also an aspiring singer), Suzanne Watson, gave a spirited up-tempo performance of “Famous in a Small Town” by Lindale native Miranda Lambert.
To wrap up the evening, the organizers turned to the most well-known MHS graduate, long-time newspaper columnist Opal Toney, a member of the class of 1942.
“My first question is ‘what am I doing up here?” she said, drawing a big laugh.
Pulling out a sheet of paper, she joked about needing notes.
“Short-term memory loss can come in pretty handy,” she said. “If you don’t want to remember something, you can’t.”
Although she moved as far away as California and Florida in her life, she returned to Mabank, where she chronicled local events for many years with the Mabank Banner. She continues to write a weekly column in each Sunday’s issue of The Monitor.
“One thing that drives me crazy – I don’t know everybody anymore,” Toney said. “I used to know everybody in Mabank, and everybody in Kemp and everybody in Eustace, too.”
Toney told the students to look around at their friends.
“Keep in touch with your friends right here,” she advised. “It’s a whole lot more fun when you can talk with old friends about how things were.
“Just remember – folks in Mabank will love you and support you, and they always will,” she added.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Long-time Mabank reporter Opal Toney, a member
of the Mabank High School class of 1942, tells the
young members of the audience "keep in touch with
your friends" during the annual Panther Pride Night Tuesday.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Mabank High School students David Stallings (left) and Rustin Pool read a letter
from 1999 MHS graduate and military veteran Joey Nickel, accompanied by photos
of Nickel from around the world, during Panther Pride Night Tuesday.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Touring golf professional Adrienne Gautreaux-McDonald (left) talks about her
life and the lessons she learned as a member of the Mabank High School class
of 1999 during the annual Panther Pride Night Tuesday.

Kiwanis hear convention report
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–Sisters Lisa Rhodes and Carol Eubank gave Cedar Creek Kiwanis members a detailed report on the recent Texas-Oklahoma division convention held in Amarillo.
Next year’s convention will be in Rockwall, and both strongly urged the Kiwanis members to plan to attend that convention during the club’s weekly luncheon Wednesday at the Lakeridge RV Park in Gun Barrel City.
During the convention, Rhodes and Eubank attended the morning prayer breakfast, and former Cedar Creek Lake member Dot Small’s name was called as one of the Kiwanis members who passed away during the past year, they said.
“They ring a bell when each name comes up,” Rhodes said. “It’s a sobering experience to realize we are part of a much larger organization.”
This year, one of Kiwanis International’s major projects is to partner with the Salvation Army and Boys & Girls Clubs of America to expand the youth clubs’ existing programs.
Boys & Girls Clubs in Kaufman and Tyler are the closest ones to the Cedar Creek Lake area, Eubank said.
Past club president Dr. Jeannie Caillet said one way local members could participate in the Boys & Girls Club activities would be to help provide shoes and clothing for underprivileged children attending summer camps.
“(The children) sometimes show up at the camp with no shoes or underwear,” she said.
In club news, members:
• heard Bill Casey, the Democratic candidate for Henderson County Sheriff, will be speaking to the club at noon next Wednesday, Aug. 27.
• discussed helping a family that recently suffered the death of the mother. The family has two children attending Mabank schools.
Members agreed to provide funds for the family, once specific needs were targeted.

Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Kiwanis members (and sisters) Lisa Rhodes (left) and Carol Eubank tell club
members about the recent Texas-Oklahoma Kiwanis convention held in Amarillo,
and show some of the Kiwanis-related pamphlets and brochures available for
members during the club’s weekly meeting Wednesday.

Rain delays work on Kemp High School
Shuttle buses will run spectators to football games from
campus parking lots to ‘Jacket Stadium

By Barbara Gartman
Monitor Staff Writer

KEMP–It may be August in Texas, but the usually hot, dry weather took a vacation of its own this past week.
Wet, rainy conditions have caused construction delays on the new Kemp High School.
Steve Jones with Baird Williams Construction expressed his frustrations to the Kemp school board Tuesday.
“We are trying to focus on one part of the building, the gymnasium, to get some part of the (school’s) foundation in. Sunday, we pumped water out of the area, and we’re continuing to try to get as much out as possible,” he said.
Subcontractors are working on plans to prefabricate some of what they need so they can jump right in when the weather clears, he added.
“As soon as we get a break in the weather, we will be ready to go,” Jones added.
Parking for athletic events at the construction zone is also a problem.
“I want to work with the district in any way we can,” Jones said.
The fencing around the construction can’t be moved as building materials will have to be “staged” (laid out in the areas needed), trustee Harvey McFaul said.
Superintendent Dr. Peter Running said that depending on the conditions, parking will be allowed in the stadium area for official and emergency vehicles, security police, game workers and the handicapped.
However, regular parking will be provided at the existing high school, junior high and intermediate parking lots, with shuttle service every 15 to 20 minutes, Running said.
In other business, trustees:
• discussed water service to the new high school.
The current water line is a two-inch diameter line. The high school requires at least an eight-inch line, Dewey Haley, director of maintenance and transportation reported.
Coming down SH 274 would necessitate boring under a lot of private driveways, adding to the cost.
Boring under County Road 4023 is another way, he said.
“That will be approximately 2,400 feet of line at about $18,000,” adding labor and machinery use would bring the cost to about $24,640, Haley explained.
Trustee Curtis Donovan suggested a 10-inch line instead of an eight-inch line, to allow for future growth.
• approved a onetime payment of $750 as a longevity payment to teachers, nurses and librarians who were with the district in 2007.
The longevity payment will be in addition to the regular step raises due the named personnel.
• approved a resolution anticipating a shortfall in one area (instruction) of the district budget.
The state legislature wants school districts to spend 65 percent of its budget on instruction, but required salaries for the district are approximately 80 percent of the budget, Running explained.
“This is not the first year for the requirement, but it is the first time the resolution has come into play,” business manager Kim Johnson said.
There is no penalty and no repercussions for not meeting the 65 percent mark, Running told trustees. It is a legislative ruling, he added.
“No one is shying away from responsibility, but let’s make these requirements realistic,” he said.
• heard the tax collection rate is now above 90 percent.
• approved a high school construction payment of $387,341.60. The total payouts made so far is $851,984.07.
• designated campus assignments for board members as follows: Scott Clearman, primary and junior high; Donovan and Jim Collinsworth, high school; Don Jedlicka, primary; Keith Foisey, intermediate; Harvey McFaul, intermediate and junior high and Steve Greenhaw, junior high.


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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