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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

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.

Impact of Ryan’s Coach West Goes Far Beyond Athletic Circles

 You might expect when a sports writer is asked to write a tribute to someone the focus would be on that person’s accomplishments as a coach or player.

 But, this article will be focused more on the person than his accomplishments.

Last week a large crowd gathered at Ryan’s First Baptist Church to say goodbye to legendary Ryan coach and principal, Raymon West.

Most anyone that has been under the instruction of Mr. West would probably choose to focus on the man because   

his contribution to the lives of people went far beyond the football field, basketball court or baseball diamond if they were tasked with writing a tribute.

As Bro. Mark Kunkel, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Terral, said numerous times while conducting the service, everyone was mostly there to honor the man Mr. West and not Coach West.

However, well over half the crowd identified themselves at one point in the service as having been coached by Coach West.

And certainly his coaching ability is not to be overlooked, but each person who has come under the influence of Mr. West would probably be quick to agree with Bro. Kunkel and this writer that his greatest achievements were what he poured into our lives.

You see the goal of Mr. West was not really to produce great athletes – although that did happen. His goal was to prepare high school students for life.

And, for the most part he was a master at teaching life lessons.

Mr. West was tough. He was a disciplinarian. However, he correctly knew that making life a bit difficult in the athletic arena would serve each person well when they began to tackle life as a young adult.

And, some of those lessons not only served us well as young adults, but throughout our life time.

As was noted in the funeral service, Mr. West cared deeply for people. He endeared himself to most every athlete he ever coached and those he taught.

The compassion Mr. West had for people carried over to his retirement years as he served people through his church and was frequently present when a need had to be met in the community.

Everything Mr. West did was with great passion – his family, ranching, teaching and coaching.

Mr. West’s accomplishments in the coaching profession should not go without mention. He was inducted into the Oklahoma Girls Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1988. Most everyone knows he coached the 1965 Cowgirl squad that won the Class B state championship – the only state title in school history. He coached the Cowgirls for a total of 13 seasons.

He coached the Cowboy basketball team for 15 seasons and took the 1962 squad to the state tournament – one of only two boys’ teams to advance into the state tournament.

Mr. West’s contributions to the football program are more notable than most people might think. He coached football on three different occasions – in 1958, 1962-1963 and 1977-1980. The 1962 squad just missed out on a district title and finished 8-2 which tied the 1929 football team for the second most wins in a season up to that time.

 It is likely that one of the key decisions made by Mr. West while serving as principal and head football coach at Ryan was moving from 11-man football to eight-man football following the 1977 season. The decision probably saved the football program and he coached the Cowboys to the playoffs in the first year of eight-man football.

Mr. West also coached baseball in the early years at Ryan.

In the four sports coached by Mr. West, he led squads to 14 conference championships, three county championships, seven bi-county championships, 10 district titles, three regional crowns and one state championship.

No tribute, however, would be complete without personal stories because Mr. West had a profound impact on my life.

Late during my eighth-grade year and Mr. West’s first year back at Ryan after having coached at Burkburnett, Texas and Duncan, he noticed right away that my athletic genes were just about non-existent.

Mr. West came to me and asked me if I would be interested in being the student trainer, which I did after football season that year. He sent me that following summer by bus to Baylor University to attend the National Athletic Trainers Association annual convention.

I was definitely way out of my league (can you imagine a kid who just completed eighth grade going on a trip like that alone?), but I learned a few things and spent the rest of my high school days helping with all sports. Mr. West saw potential in me that I did not see in myself and giving me that responsibility helped me stay connected to sports.

As you can imagine we spent a lot of time together during basketball practices. During that time I learned a lot about basketball, but did not fail to pick up one or two life lessons along the way.

One of those came one afternoon after Ryan had suffered a loss in a game that was not well-officiated. And, as I have a tendency to do even today, I was griping about how poorly the officials called the game the night before.

I suppose Mr. West had heard enough and he looked at me and said, “You worry about the things you have control over. We have no control over the officiating.”

That little tidbit has remained with me through the years and has been invaluable in my life’s journey.

In the years following whenever I would make my way to Ryan I would try to make sure I came in contact with Mr. West.

A side note – most anyone coached by Mr. West were all afraid to ever call him anything but Mr. West or Coach West. It was always difficult to address him as “Raymon.” But, that is the kind of respect he commanded and deserved.

Many others and in particular his family could share similar stories about how Mr. West impacted their lives. I am just fortunate I had the opportunity to be the one to write this article.

I believe it is pretty easy to come to one conclusion – there will never be another Raymon West.

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.

Joe Allen Named New Eagle Football, Baseball Mentor

 Joe Allen was selected recently as the 38th head football coach in school history at Waurika High School.

Allen will not only be the grid mentor, but will also serve as the head baseball coach for the Eagles next spring.

 “I am really excited about coming to Waurika not just because of the job opportunities, but because my wife teaches at Waurika, we live here and my kids go to school here,” said Allen in a recent interview.

Allen, a 2009 graduate of Cameron University and a 2004 Ryan High School graduate, is looking forward to the challenge of continuing to build on the success Waurika has had in football the past couple of years.

For the past four seasons Allen has been the head baseball coach and assistant football coach at Walters High School. He guided the Blue Devils to one district title in baseball in the four seasons.

“The big selling point for the job was of course my family, but also the kind of athletes they had coming up at Waurika,” said Allen. “I was happy at Walters, so it had to be the right job for me to leave there.”

Allen began his coaching career as a lay coach for the Duncan High School baseball team for two years.

He became the head baseball coach at Rush Springs for two seasons before moving to Temple in 2013 to become the head football coach and head baseball coach for the Tigers.

It was his only season as a head football coach and he guided the Tigers to a 4-5 mark before the opportunity came to move over to Walters.

“Football and baseball were always neck and neck for me even when I was a little kid,” noted Allen when asked which sport was his favorite.

 Allen has not yet had an opportunity to meet with the football team, but is looking forward to getting together with them in the near future.

“Being in the area and living here in Waurika I have known the kind of athletes they have,” said Allen in reflecting on his new challenge.

“They have been really competitive in junior high and what I have been impressed with is they have a number of athletes that I have heard are willing to work hard to improve,” said Allen.

While the timing of his hiring did not allow him to get involved with Waurika’s summer league baseball team, he did see the squad in action in their final summer league game at Comanche.

Allen will take over for former Waurika football and baseball coach Glenn Howard, who moves over to Wilson to become an assistant for the Eagles.

“I was glad they had a team because it is hard to get a team together in many of the smaller communities around,” Allen said

Allen was an outstanding athlete during his high school career at Ryan. He excelled in football, baseball and track.

In the 2003 season football season Allen was the starting quarterback on the Cowboys’ semifinal squad that finished 9-4. He threw for 1,113 yards and connected for 11 touchdowns. He also contributed 553 yards rushing.

During his junior season for the Cowboy football squad Allen snared seven interceptions, which was the third most in the state among eight-man schools. He was also named to The Duncan Banner’s all-area football team.

Allen was a ringleader on the 2003 baseball squad that earned a district title – one of only three district titles for the Cowboys since 2000.

In track, Allen was a state track meet qualifier in the high jump in both 2003 and 2004 and was the Southern Eight Conference high jump champion in 2004.

Allen is married to the former Magen Wright of Ryan and she is currently a teacher in the Waurika Public Schools. They have three children with the oldest entering first grade at Waurika this fall.

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.

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