Cody Simmons Reflects on the Transition from Principal to Superintendent

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Although he began his student teaching in Waurika back in 2004, his history with Waurika schools goes back further than that. 

His family have deep roots in Jefferson County. 

After beginning his student teaching, he was hired soon thereafter in January of 2005 as the second grade teacher at the Elementary. 

For the past eight years he has served as the Elementary Principal. 

By now, everyone is probably aware that Cody Simmons is the new Waurika Public Schools Superintendent beginning July of this year. 

Over the past couple of weeks the reality of the role has sunk in. 

He says he has been getting more familiar with the high school.

Cody said he recently met with the high school principal and the athletic director. 

He is becoming more familiar with the high school.

The adjustment for him will be managing the overall school system rather than just the Elementary. 

He says he is looking forward to the new experience. 

Simmons says that one of his expectations for the upcoming year is to close the gap between the Elementary and the High School. 

He would like to see the school system be more of a whole than separate parts (Elementary, Middle School, and High School).

During his time as principal, the Elementary has achieved “Blue Ribbon” status. 

That status is determined by the test scores over three consecutive years. 

Simmons is a busy man.

 

Besides being a full time school administrator, he also enjoys mowing yards, working out, and most of all spending time with his family. 

He says right now they are enjoying ball games several nights per week. 

Simmons is also deeply involved in the community.

He was instrumental in the establishment of the Veterans Park downtown. 

He is quick to give credit to others who have assisted in the success of the park. 

Craig Williams, he says was gracious to add his professional touch to the landscaping. 

Simmons also attributes the success of the Elementary, including its “Blue Ribbon” status, to the hard work and dedication of the teachers. 

“I feel like the teachers here are all high quality enthusiastic professional teachers. Whenever you surround yourself with [people like ] that good things will happen,” Simmons says .

Beating the Odds

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By Lauren Hobbs

He has been beating the odds his entire life.

When his mother Tracy Woods was 6 months pregnant with him it was discovered that he  had one kidney larger than the other which led to a birth defect.

After many test he had surgery a month before he was 2 years old to fix his kidneys.

At the age of 3 his mother noticed he was not hitting the developmental milestones he was supposed to.

He was tested for autism and was diagnosed with pervasive development delay with autistic tendencies.

The doctor’s said they were not sure if he would ever be able to speak.

Click the above ad to visit Terri’s Facebook page!

Braden started headstart at age three.

While he was in Kindergarten he had the good fortune to be taught by Jeri Donn McCauley.

Tracy still get’s tears in her eyes when she talks about McCauley.

McCauley was like a God-Send. She would never give up on Brandon and continued to push him to do better.

Woods continued to improve.

Through his elementary school years he was winning school competitions and science fairs.

In his freshman year be began to really shine.

He was the new comer of the year on the academic team.

He placed 5th in the USAO interscholastic in Oklahoma History.

He placed 4th in American History at the Cameron interscholastic meet.

In his sophomore he place 1st in American History at the Cameron interscholastic meet which qualified to attend the tournament of champs in Oklahoma City where he tied for 3rd place.

Also during his sophomore year he qualified for the National Honor Society.

His junior year he was a member of the Beta Club, and he was the 3rd runner up for Mr. and Mrs. WHS.

Woods senior year has been productive and rewarding as well.

He has been named an ambassador for the Red River VoTech, which allowed him to give tours to prospective students.

He was also named to the National Technical Honor Society through the Red River Vo-Tech.

Woods was the runner up in Social Studies at the Beta Club Convention in Norman.

He earned an “Excellent” rating at the Oklahoma Scholastic Media Online Critique column.

On top of all of that he made honorable mention at the All State Academic Bowl.

He also scored a 30 on his ACT.

Woods participated in the Sooner Discovery program.

Woods has been accepted to attend Oklahoma University this coming fall where he has been awarded a $10,000.00 tuition waiver.

While attending OU, he may also try out for the band.

When Woods graduates at the end of this semester he will be recognized as an Eagle Scholar.

Braden Woods continued so defy the odds and overcome them, it only stands to reason that he will continue to do so in the future.

We wish him continued success as he advances with his life.

Winter Weather Hits Jefferson County

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Winter weather has hit Jefferson county!

Below are some of your pictures taken over the past couple of days!

Thanks for your submissions.

Tammy Richardson took this picture!
Nanette Foster took this picture at Grady, Oklahoma.
Marie Hardie took this picture at the Hardie Ranch.
Gayla Keeter took this picture of her fish pond.
Decole James Myers took this picture of the Red River.
Courtney Nobles took this picture 2 miles south east of Waurika.

Christina Fowler took this picture of downtown Hastings.
Alecia Prewitt took this picture of Monroe Street in Waurika.

Brad Scott Serving on Duncan Regional Hospital Board

Duncan Regional Hospital is fortunate to have many passionate people serving on its boards who are willing to share their time and talent. We are pleased to announce the addition of Brad Scott to the DRH Board of Directors.

A fifth-generation Jefferson County resident, Brad graduated from Waurika High School in 1990. He attended Oklahoma State University graduating with a degree in agricultural economics. He returned to Waurika where he owned the Farmers Insurance Agency for 19 years. Three years ago, he sold the business to devote his time to running his and his family’s ranching business.

It was through his grandfather’s legacy of serving in the Oklahoma legislature for 30 years (the longest-serving member) Brad learned the importance of service. He ran for state representative while at OSU. “I won 3 out of 4 counties and lost the overall election by 117 votes,” said Scott. “It was a great learning experience for me.”

His commitment to service continues through his role as City Manager for Waurika. He has held this position for two terms and will serve in the role as long as he is needed. “I love our community,” shared Scott. “Our town looks as good as it has in 20 years. Main Street looks phenomenal as does the new Veterans Park.”

Additional boards, he has served on include the Oklahoma AgCredit, Jefferson County Hospital Authority and First Christian Church of Waurika.

Brad has been married to Elizabeth for 22 years, and they have two sons, Lodge, a freshman at Oklahoma State University and Houston, who is in 8th grade.

While welcoming a new member, it is also time to say thank you to Scott Stone as he steps off the Board of Directors.  Scott, a Duncan attorney, has served on the board since 2009.  During this time Scott served on several board committees including Compliance, Governance, Institutional Development, and Professional Affairs. Additionally, he served as Board Secretary for two years and as Chair for two.

“It’s truly an honor to welcome Brad to the DRH Board of Directors. He brings a lot of different talents and a passion for Jefferson County to the board that we need in our growing organization.  As well, we want to thank Scott Stone for all his work, direction, guidance and dedication to DRH over the past 9 years. It was an honor to have him on our board,” said Jay R. Johnson, President and CEO, Duncan Regional Hospital.

Waurika School Board Hires Bryan Plant as New Teacher and Hires Pat Cook as the New Elementary Principal

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 It was a bitter sweet meeting for Roxie Terry as he finished his last school board meeting as the Superintendent of Waurika Schools. 

He looks forward to retirement. Terry said he wants to enjoy time with his family and friends.

In other business, the school board hired a teacher and a new principal for the Elementary school.

Bryan Plant

Bryan Plant, a graduate of Waurika, was hired to teach the second grade.  

He has taught school at Fox and Elmore City and is looking forward to teaching here in Waurika during the 2018-19 school year. 

Pat Cook

Pat Cook has been teaching in Waurika Public Schools for the past 16 years. She was hired by the board as the new Elementary Principal. 

After the meeting she expressed that she is excited about the upcoming school year and looks forward to working with the students and the teachers. 

The board approved a one year contract with Craig Computers for computer maintenance. The contract was approved for around $15,500.00.

The contract for lawn maintenance for the school and the athletic fields was awarded to Joe Masoner. 

Allied Lab Inc. of Lawton will handle the drug and alcohol testing for the school during the next term at the same price as last year’s agreement.

Mr. Hodges reported that starting next summer the OSSAA has mandated 9 days around July 4 when coaches can have no contact with athletes. This will allow the coaches and the players to have some time off. Hodges said this is something he voted for and will be good for everyone. 

Last but not least, the board approved a new policy allowing the Waurika Schools to add “weighted” classes to the curriculum. This will encourage more students to take challenging classes. (More about that in another issue).

New Business in Waurika

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There is a new gun store in town. 

It’s called Pop’s Guns and More and is owned by Sherry Rochelle.

She is pictured with Chris Bayless at the counter at the new store in downtown Waurika. 

The hours of operation are as follows:

Mon – Closed

Tues – 5:30 p – 8:30 p

Wed – 5:30 p – 8:30 p

Thu – 12:00 p – 6:00 p

Fri –   12:00 p – 6:00 p

Sat –  10:00 a – 6:00 p

Sun – Closed

Harold Winton Inducted into the Racing Hall of Fame

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He started on the  oval dirt track circuit in 1971. Now he is in the racing hall of fame.

Harold Winton’s life has been influenced by cars.

In a pair of photo albums you can trace his racing history. These two albums are overflowing with pictures, racing stats and news clippings.

Thumbing through the first pages of one of the albums a picture of a  young Harold Winton can be found.

In the photo he is in front of a car in mid-reconstruction. The car could metaphorically be seen as his inspiration for the passions of his life—racing and cars.

A young Harold standing in front of the car he raced around in the back yard.

He has placed in the top ten at every track he has raced on. That includes Arkansas, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

The first time he was ever on a race track he crashed, flipping end over end. That, he says, is his most memorable race. 

His first car was blue with the number four painted on the side. After Harold was born he changed his number to 71 because Lisa was seven and Harold was almost one.

Harold’s Frist Race Car
First Car with #71 painted on the side.

In the early days he took his family – wife Beverly, daughter Lisa, and son Harold Jr. The family grew up watching dad race. As busy as he was racing, he never missed any of their ball games or activities.  These days his son Harold races with him. They build their own bodies on their modified race cars. There were many Monday’s they didn’t make it home from the races until about 6 am in the morning. Harold Jr. was only two weeks old when he attended his first race. Together they have set records, one of them was when they tied. It was the first time in the history of dirt track racing a father/son team tied.

That will probably not be the last record they will set.

Waurika Teachers Not Walking Out?

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A special school board  meeting was held Monday evening in the Waurika Library at 6:30 pm.

The subject of the meeting was to discuss any possible board action with regard to proposed teacher walkout.

Roxie Terry, Waurika Superintendent started the session saying that the teachers have not had a raise in nine years.

He also stated that their had been a decrease in school funding.

He said the teachers across the state feel that their back is against the wall. He said something has to be done. “We are losing teachers across the state.”

Terry went on to say that it was the Oklahoma Education Association who called for the Walkout scheduled for April 2, 2018.

He said the decision to participate in the walkout was not up to the administration.

A week ago the teachers voted 19-14 to stay in school and not participate in the walkout.

Someone had suggested that the vote was not fair. Mr. Simmons said later in the meeting that the vote was fair and teachers had not been influenced in anyway. He said he believed the teachers deserve a raise.

There was another vote taken. The second time 17 teachers voted  to participate in the walkout and 14 teachers voted not to walkout. Two teachers didn’t participate in the second vote.

Terry went on to state that with 17 teachers being absent it wouldn’t be possible to have school.

He further stated that they needed to decide whether or not to support the teachers by passing a resolution stating such and allow them to leave without loss of pay and what to do about the extra-curricular activities left on the school calender.

Terry said that the OSSAA would probably not change the sports calender just because the teachers had participated in the walkout.

Nobody could say how long the walkout may last.

This became a concern the board wanted to discuss because of the need to fulfill the number of days required to complete the school year.

Terry informed the board the length of the teacher’s absence was up to the teachers.

The last time there was a walkout, Terry said that the teachers were only absent from school for about four days.

Currently, Waurika has five days that they can use between now and the end of school that can be missed without having to have any makeup days.

Anything over those five days would require another day be tacked on to the end of the year for each day missed.

Waurika has 24 working days that have to be fulfilled starting April 2, 2018.

The walkout would affect support people Terry said. It could even possibly hurt their pay. (The board voted to continue to pay support staff if there is a walkout).

According to Mr. Terry, Red River VoTech will still be conducting classes and the school will continue to run a bus to Red River.

The special education bus that takes students to Walters will continue to run each school day.

An immediate question that was asked was “Who will take the students to the extra-curricular activities?” The answer was that some teachers had volunteered to take students to the scheduled sport activities that are on the schedule. This would become a point of contention later in the meeting.

The concern the board expressed was in essence that not teaching in the classroom and yet still participating in athletics was setting a bad example for the students— as if to say that sports is more important than education.

The board wanted to know what was meant by “work stoppage” and Mr. Terry said that it meant that all classroom instruction would be suspended. The teachers would not be in the classrooms.

The next question that was asked was “when will the walkout end?”

There was no definite answer to that question.

The board did vote to support the teachers and not penalize them financially for participating in the walkout. Board members expressed their support for the teachers having a raise and that they appreciate all that they do for our students.

Board members expressed that if the teachers were walking out that it should encompass all activities and not just classroom activities. Otherwise it defeats the purpose. Therefore,  if the teachers walk out on April 2, there will be no further school activities until the teachers return to their contracted duties in the classrooms.

According to Mr. Terry, on Tuesday afternoon, the day after the emergency board meeting, 65% of the teachers decided to not participate in the walkout.

Mr. Terry felt confident that there should be enough teachers present to have school this coming Monday.

If the situation changes we will post it on our website at www.waurikanewsjournal.com.

Samantha Horner is one of Waurika’s Valedictorians

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 Samantha Horner is one of the Valedictorians of this year’s senior class of Waurika.

Besides being a cheerleader, she has also enjoyed showing pigs and playing basketball. 

Her love of working with pigs began when she was in the 7th grade and inspired her to found Sam’s Show Pigs, a business that breeds, raises and sells show pigs. 

Horner has a huge love for all animals and plans to be a veterinarian when she graduates from Oklahoma State University. 

She is currently working at Chisholm Trail Animal Hospital on Fuller Road near Duncan and has even earned her certification of veterinary assistant. 

Horner says she has known since  her sophomore year in high school that she wanted to be a veterinarian. 

When she starts college in the fall she will  be classified as a second semester freshman because she has already earned 12 hours of college credit. 

Her most memorable moments from high school are from her experiences showing pigs. 

Purple is her favorite color and her favorite genre of music is country. 

She has been involved in Oklahoma Honor Society, FFA, 4H, Student council, National Honor Society, scholastic meets, Cross-Country, basketball, golf, cheer leading, and track. 

Horner has also served as President of Beta Club and her senior class, treasurer for National Honor Society, student council representative and captain of Waurika Cheer. 

At times she has volunteered at the Waurika Public Library and has served as a mentor to incoming 6th graders. 

She served as a mentor at middle school cheer tryouts, leader for little eagle basketball camp, and was a spokesperson for the local effort to support the hurricane Harvey relief project. 

Horner has earned many awards and honors. She has received FFA awards and 4H awards such as Junior, Intermediate, and Senior Swine Showmanship. 

She was the recipient of the Hollis Dickey Award and the HOBY Leadership Conference Ambassador honor. 

She has also received academic awards in physical science, biology, US History, Oklahoma history, anatomy, and the OSU Academic Excellence Scholarship. 

Honer was Homecoming Queen. 

Samantha Horner has a great future in front of her and will continue to excel at college and in her chosen profession. 

It’s about time for fishing season

Fishing is just around the corner, although with a temperature of 18 right now, it’s a little hard to imagine. It won’t be long however before I start  getting pictures of Houston Scott and Slade Cathey with huge bass taken from their local ponds! As warm afternoons and sunshine raise the temps, the big bass will start hanging out in the shallows.

New Heritage 40th Anniversary Tracker for $9,995.00

This really signals the beginning of fishing season and the lake bite will quickly follow. With that in mind it’s time to start getting your fishing rig ready to go. We discussed a few weeks ago about working on your tackle during this down time but now you need to concentrate on your boat.

After being winterized and stored for a few months, we need to do a complete check; batteries, controls, electrical and have the engine serviced, including oil change. Hopefully, making that first trip to your favorite spot trouble-free.

It doesn’t matter if your ride is a $40,000 bass boat, Jon boat, pontoon or your family pleasure boat as long as you get out and enjoy our Waurika Lake.

A lot of you may not remember, but in the early 70’s, “bass boats” existed, but not as we know them now. They were small, around 14ft and very narrow to have access to brushy shoreline areas. They were driven from the bow seat using a stick drive, which took a little practice to get used to!

Skeeter Boats, I believe, was the first to manufacture what would be known as a bass boat.

 

The First Bass Tracker in 1978

The earliest of what could truly be called a bass boat is credited to Holmes Thurman who founded the Skeeter Boat Company of Liberty, Texas in 1948.

The first Skeeter boats were part flat-bottomed jonboat and part powerboat. The name came from the appearance of its distinct bow. Thurman thought it looked like a mosquito. Made from molded plywood, the first Skeeters rapidly became popular with Texas and Louisiana anglers.

Skeeter began building improved fiberglass models in the early 1950’s. The 1961 Skeeter Hawk was one of the first mass produced fiberglass bass boats available.

The basics of the modern bass boat came together for the first time; more hydrodynamic hull design, swivel fishing chairs, bow mounted electric motor, and rod holders. Not quite a Wright Brothers to space shuttle difference but close.

As anyone knows, if you wanted a boat of any kind in the 1970’s, you went to the dealer of your choice, picked out the model you wanted and then decided what kind of motor and other accessories you wanted on the boat and paid them to rig it out.

The first boat of this type I bought was from Lakey’s Marine in Wichita Falls in 1975. I can’t remember the brand but it was a 14ft green and white fiberglass boat that was so narrow that sitting in the bow seat you could rest your hands on the gunnels without reaching! Rigged with a 25hp Johnson motor, I thought it was the cat’s meow.

The First Bass Boat

That all changed in 1978 when Johnny Morris introduced the first “Bass Tracker”, the industry’s first fully accessorized, ready-to-fish boat, motor and trailer package at an unheard-of nationally published price of $2,995 and advertised it in their fishing catalog. The boat was an instant hit; I remember seeing my first tied up at my friends dock on Lake Arrowhead in 1979 – I was impressed! Then in 1982, TRACKER Boats opened its first plant in Lebanon, MO. It was dedicated solely to the manufacture of TRACKER fishing boats. In 1988, the company’s custom boat trailer factory opened in Ozark, MO. Each trailer is factory matched, custom fit, sized and color coordinated to the boat it will carry. In 2008, TRACKER Boats celebrated 30 years as the #1 builder of aluminum fishing boats, and as the acknowledged leader in innovative aluminum boat technology. Today, Tracker still builds some of the best, most affordable fishing boats in the nation.

There are a lot of great bass boat/fishing boats out there these days for you and your family’s enjoyment, hope this gives you an idea of how it all got started! Get in one and get out and enjoy your great Oklahoma outdoors!

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