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
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
from 1999 MHS graduate and military veteran Joey Nickel, accompanied by
of Nickel from around the world, during Panther Pride Night Tuesday.
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Touring golf professional Adrienne Gautreaux-McDonald (left) talks about
life and the lessons she learned as a member of the Mabank High School
of 1999 during the annual Panther Pride Night Tuesday.
Kiwanis hear convention
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
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
Monitor Photo/Kerry Yancey
Kiwanis members (and sisters) Lisa Rhodes (left) and Carol Eubank tell
members about the recent Texas-Oklahoma Kiwanis convention held in
and show some of the Kiwanis-related pamphlets and brochures available
members during the club’s weekly meeting Wednesday.
Rain delays work on Kemp High
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
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,”
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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