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Thursday, September 16, 2021
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Dave Says

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Bless them, don’t enable them

Dear Dave,

My husband and I are both teachers, and we’re on Baby Step 7. We’re struggling with things where our wills are concerned. Three of our four adult children aren’t being wise with their money, and my husband and I disagree on how to talk to them about it and how it may affect us re-structuring our wills. We don’t want to be judgmental, but at the same time we agree something needs to be said or done.

Danielle

Dear Danielle,

Let’s say someone is working at my company, and taking my money in the form of a paycheck. Let’s also say this person isn’t doing a good job. If I don’t talk to them about their performance because I don’t want to be seen as judgmental, I’m not doing my job. I owe them the feedback necessary for them to become a good team member. Otherwise, they could just get fired one day without really knowing what happened because I refused to “judge” them.

You’re supposed to judge people. The idea that you’re not supposed to is ridiculous. But you don’t have to be a jerk about it. There’s a big difference betweenjudging people and being judgmental. But it’s unkind not to share insights or suggestions for a better way of life with those you love most. Holding back and telling yourself the way someone behaves is just the way they’re made is wrong in most instances. Overspending and not saving money aren’t character traits—they’re decisions. 

They’re adults now, and they’re going to do what they want. They don’t have to understand or support your ways of handling money, but you and your husband have every right to tell them they have to start behaving in certain ways if they expect to receive your money when the time comes. If they’re misbehaving, and you give them money, you’re funding that bad behavior. That’s not love, that’s enabling. And a big pile of money isn’t going to heal the bad things—it’s only going to magnify them.

Sit down with your kids, and have a loving, clear discussion about the situation. Remind them that they’re adults, and you and your husband are no longer able to tell them how they have to live. But let them know in no uncertain terms, gently but firmly, they will not receive your money if they continue to behave in ways you both consider foolish or unreasonable. Let them know they’ll always have your love, just not your money, unless they begin behaving more intelligently and maturely with their finances.

You can’t make them do anything, Danielle. But you can ensure they understand you two won’t be sharing your wealth with people who can’t handle it and use it wisely.

—Dave

* Dave Ramsey is a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 18 million listeners each week. Hehas appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.

Big Hair and Social Engineering in Public Schools

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This is part of a series of ten summertime articles mapping the common ground upon which parents, educators, and communities can unite regarding one of the most divisive topics in America: public education. 

The History Channel is my authoritative source for solid, historical facts about UFO’s, Sasquatch, and Chupacabra, and my favorite show is undoubtedly Ancient Aliens. In one episode, the troll-haired guy (Giorgio Tsoukalos) asserts that the only reason people don’t accept that the pyramids were built by E.T. is because we will not teach the truth in school. That certainly settles it for me, but Mr. Tsoukalos is not alone in his opinion. Virtually everyone on the left and right seems to agree that public schools are the root of every problem that plagues America. When everyone agrees with Ancient Aliens about public schools, who can say America is divided? 

If public schools are to blame for all our problems, then according to the same logic, that’s where we can also fix everything. This philosophy has produced wholesale social engineering through schools since their inception. This is not always bad, for schools have been used to help curb smoking, to stop littering, and to even promote healthy exercise. Such good examples of social engineering are always transparent, widely supported, and inarguably in the best interest of kids. (I don’t know anyone promoting smoking, unhealthy kids, or trashy highways.)  But seriously, anti-littering campaigns are not the type of social engineering that irritates parents and educators. 

This is not solely a red or blue issue, however. Both parties do it constantly and cooperatively. For example, Common Core State Standards – introduced under Brad Henry and Sandy Garret and implemented by Mary Fallin and Janet Barresi – were adopted with widespread bipartisan support and voted out with equally purple fervor. Legislation is an open process that can be reversed, however, so this is not really the type of social engineering that bothers everyone. It’s the sneaky stuff that bothers us, especially when it infringes on parental rights, limits local control, or erodes relevant curriculum. That’s the type of social engineering I believe has hurt public schools. 

Anything that usurps parents’ authority or influence over their own children (parental rights), that circumvents a communities’ local autonomy (local control), or that artificially injects unrelated agendas into an academic area (relevant curriculum) rightfully raises a red flag, but most of all, Americans do not like things that are hidden or secretive (transparency). People see this as a subversive type of social engineering.

Public schools are diverse communities, so parents and educators (and children) understand that everyone will not always agree. They do get along, however, by establishing rules and procedures to ensure that captive and impressionable audiences are not needlessly subject to issues that may be hostile to the parents’ wishes. Student-led clubs or groups can explore such topics, but they must be voluntary, conducted openly, and with parent’s knowledge. Anything a child is forced to attend (as part of compulsory schooling) should be free of attempts to subvert parental rights, local control, relevant curriculum, or transparency. 

But of course, people are imperfect and we all have agendas, which is why local control, open meetings, and open records will always be needed. Post-COVID parents seem to have a renewed interest in what their public school is doing, and most educators welcome this. We have needed your help for a long time to help manage the insanity. Social engineering in schools is as old as chalkboards, but thankfully, parents and educators can agree on most issues, tolerating and accepting differences that do arise. Despite what the media portrays, there really is common ground in education, and I believe most parents and educators value the same things.  

As a proud bald man, however, I must confess my own secret agenda, driven by jealousy of the troll-haired guy’s bouffant. I want all public school children to sport the troll hairstyle. They would look so cute lined up with their hair pointing straight up, but alas, I cannot push my pompadour preferences on hapless children. Neither parents nor educators would like that. Nevertheless, I do suggest that Egyptologists start looking for Reese’s Pieces in the pyramids because E.T. never phones home without them. Georgio really may be on to something there.

Tom Deighan is a public educator and currently serves as Superintendent of Duncan Public Schools. He may be reached at deighantom@gmail.com

The Most Important Educator

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This is second in a series of ten summertime articles mapping the common ground upon which parents, educators, and communities can unite regarding one of the most divisive topics in America: public education. 

The leader of a major school software company once claimed he can predict the success of any student in his system. He did not need any of the demographics, grades, or other records stored in his vast computers. He just needed to know if anyone logged in to check on a child’s progress – not daily, weekly, or even monthly. Just once, he claimed, to check on that child. To think, all my nagging as a parent, wasted!  

Although an infinite number of factors impact a child’s education, we know children excel most when a supportive adult is actively involved, and they don’t always need helicopters circling overhead. They just need to know that their education matters to someone – anyone. I cannot responsibly reduce educational success to a click of the mouse, but I can confidently summarize troves of educational research as well as my entire experience as an educator into one simple principle: The parent is the most important educator in a child’s life. 

The parent is the educational foundation and backbone of not only a child’s education but the entire educational system. This is true for public school, private school, and home school, from preschool to university. Schools can assist in a child’s education, and we can advise and support parents, but we can do very little without parents’ support. Such a statement would not have been controversial just a few years ago, so before you cancel me, let me explain. 

When I use the term parent, I obviously mean parent in the traditional sense, but parent also includes the countless grandparents, relatives, and others providing the invaluable service of nagging their beloved children to get their homework done, to get to school on time, and to behave. We don’t think of it as nagging, but that’s how our kids see it, and children generally know who loves them most by who nags them to be their best, even if it is a simple click of the mouse. (Despite some students’ claims, it is not cyberbullying to check their grades.) Sometimes, however, parents need some help, because without someone gently nagging these kids, none of this works.

I am the youngest of seven, and my dad died before I could know him. My single mom cared deeply about my education, but she did not nag me much because she was either at work (often nights) or too tired, despite how much she deeply loved me. From the earliest age, I took full advantage of the situation to become a very accomplished delinquent, so to most teachers I resembled a feral cat more than an actual child. Nevertheless, in each of the fifteen schools I attended before graduation, at least one adult lovingly nagged me. Sometimes it was my teacher, but sometimes it was the custodian, the cook, or the bus driver. Even when my mom needed a nap, I knew someone was watching over me. 

When I assert that the parent is the most important educator in a child’s life, I understand that the definition of parent varies greatly. I also understand that the smallest contribution of a caring adult can exponentially multiply a parent’s efforts. We educators can assist parents but only with their support, and if we ever forget this, we have lost our way. Thankfully, 80% of parents and 80% of educators agree on 80% of the issues, making this partnership possible. Exceptions exist to any rule, but parents and educators working together can rule any exception, especially when we focus on a child’s needs before politics. Most importantly, however, we must never forget who is the most important educator in a child’s life. 

Tom Deighan is a public educator and currently serves as Superintendent of Duncan Public Schools. He may be reached at deighantom@gmail.com

The 80/80/80 Rule in Public Education

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This is first in a series of ten summertime articles mapping the common ground upon which parents, educators, and communities can unite regarding one of the most divisive topics in America: public education. 

I know it sounds crazy, but I contend that common ground on the issue of education not only exists, but that it may be the only remaining common ground in American culture. I am not dreaming the nostalgic myth of a lost Atlantis or the elitist dream of the flying island of Laputa. On the contrary, most public schools are practical, functioning, and redeemable places where parents, educators, and communities work together every day, regardless of differences. These islands function because 80% of parents and 80% of educators actually agree on 80% of the issues. (The 80/80/80 rule.)

I confess that this does sound a little crazy, even as I write this. Wherever I turn, public education is either extolled or demonized, and when extremes are our only options, everyone is forced to become an extremist. Despite the rhetoric, however, I have met few extremists. I see signs of them on social media and in news clips, but I cannot ever recall meeting one at the supermarket, at church, or in the drop-off line at school. Nevertheless, our national discourse is increasingly controlled by trolls behind keyboards and ogres on parade. In such a culture, anyone who rejects any element of our orthodoxy is no longer human. At least that’s what the trolls and ogres on my cable news channel tell me!

No subject illustrates this more than the topic of public education. We are told to choose between either rabid resistance to any change in public schools (except for more public funding) . . . or rabid commitment to dismantle public schools (while using the same public money). When such false choices wholly dominate national media, no wonder so many people naturally assume that their local public school is a boiling cauldron of controversy and contention. Far left and far right social engineers are surely battling it out in our hallways and classrooms, using our children as human shields. Judging by the national narrative, 80% of educators are evil, 80% of students are delinquents, and 80% of parents don’t care. If only God or the Government would save us!

So when I propose the 80/80/80 rule, I understand why you might think I am crazy, but think about it. Virtually all parents want their children to one day graduate, earn a living, and be part of a community. Educators want the same, and despite what you see on the interweb, few educators entered this profession because they hate children or parents. Sadly, the national media have 10/10 vision; they focus on the 10% of radical left issues and the 10% of radical right issues, painting everyone with these wide brushes. Your neighborhood school certainly includes these perspectives, but they make it work, because 80% of parents and 80% of educators agree on 80% of the issues. When they don’t, they have the capacity to disagree amicably and to work together. Otherwise, our schools would all be on fire.

I know the 80/80/80 rule seems preposterous to many, but I understand. Some subjects are easy, like career-ready graduates, safety, and security. Others, like school choice and faith, are a little more complicated, but the 80/80/80 rule applies even to tough topics. Next week, we will start off with the most revolutionary of ideas – that the parent is the most important educator in any child’s life. This ideal is the bedrock upon which our entire system depends, and believe it or not, most parents and most educators agree on this issue. Please join me this summer as we explore this elusive common ground.  If my instincts are correct, we will discover it is bigger than ever imagined. Heck, even those searching for schools on Atlantis and Laputa might discover real estate they can share, even if they do choose to live on opposite sides of the island.

Tom Deighan is a public educator and currently serves as Superintendent of Duncan Public Schools. He may be reached at deighantom@gmail.com

Preparing to Travel Abroad

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As more people become fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and with summer fast approaching, the desire to take trips and vacations outside of the United States again will only continue to grow. If you are hoping or planning to take a trip abroad anytime soon, please be advised about some important information and guidance regarding passport applications and renewals as well as certain foreign country requirements.

First, if you are planning to apply for a passport or renew an expiring one, you might experience significant delays due to application backlogs caused by the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, routine passport applications could take up to 12 weeks or longer to process and even expedited passport processing could take between 4-6 weeks.

To ensure you have your passport in time for any scheduled vacations or trips, the U.S. Department of State recommends that you apply early in case of delays. You can learn more about the process and begin your own application at travel.state.gov. While you are visiting the State Department’s travel office website, I encourage you to also take note of the useful traveler’s checklist, including such things as confirming you have the correct travel information, documentation and insurance. 

Second, as you consider your desired destination to visit, know that some countries around the world are currently requiring at least six months of passport validity before allowing entry. This means that travelers leaving the United States may be required to be in possession of passports that are valid for six months beyond the period of their intended stay.

Third, if you are traveling abroad soon and want to receive safety and security updates and allow someone from the State Department to reach you in case of an emergency, I highly encourage you to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) by visiting step.state.gov.

Finally, if you are experiencing a passport issue and need assistance, my office is here to help those living in the Fourth District of Oklahoma. Although we cannot guarantee the outcome of an inquiry, we can certainly help you get answers. However, in order to help you with passport or any casework issues, federal law requires my office to have a signed-in-ink privacy release on file from you to open an inquiry.

For links to additional passport and travel resources or to download a privacy release form, please visit cole.house.gov/services/passport-assistance. If you have any questions, please call my Norman office at (405) 329-6500.

Dave Says

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Obstacles and answers

Dear Dave,

In your mind, what are some of the biggest mental and emotional obstacles preventing people from addressing their financial problems?

Roger

Dear Roger,

This is a great question! There are always circumstances beyond our control that can put us in a bad place, financially or otherwise, for a season. But to change your situation when it comes to money, you have to be willing to step back and honestly look at the overall picture of what has and hasn’t been working—and why. You need to be willing to admit you might have been wrong about a few things, and be open to learning and trying new ways.

Myths about money and debt are definitely near the top of the list of things messing people up when it comes to their finances. I’ve heard it said if you tell a lie often enough and loudly enough, that lie will become accepted as a fact. Repetition, volume, and longevity will twist and turn a myth, or a lie, into a commonly accepted way of doing things. Debt is so ingrained into our culture, and has been marketed to us so aggressively, that most Americans can’t envision a car without a payment, a house without a mortgage, or a college student without a loan. We’ve also bought into the myth that we can get rich quick. We’re living in a microwave society, but living right financially is a crock pot concept. It takes time. 

Some people are afraid of change. Change can be painful, and many simply won’t change until the pain of where they are exceeds the pain of change. When it comes to money, where you are right now is a sum total of decisions you’ve made to this point. If you don’t like where you are, you have to admit changes need to be made in order for you to achieve your dreams. 

Finally, a lot of folks simply haven’t been taught the proper way to manage money. Ignorance is not lack of intelligence, it’s a lack of know how. There’s a big difference between the two. Admit, even if it’s just to yourself, that you are not a financial expert. Read about money, talk to people who have been successful with their finances, and begin a life-long quest to learn as much as you can about money and how to manage it wisely. What you don’t know about money will make you broke, and keep you broke! 

*Dave Ramseyis a seven-time #1 national best-selling author, personal finance expert, and host of The Ramsey Show, heard by more than 16 million listeners each week. Hehas appeared on Good Morning America, CBS This Morning, Today Show, Fox News, CNN, Fox Business, and many more. Since 1992, Dave has helped people regain control of their money, build wealth and enhance their lives. He also serves as CEO for Ramsey Solutions.

Cameron University to host high school students from across the state during annual FFA Agriculture Interscholastic Meet

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The Cameron University Department of Agriculture, Biology and Health Sciences will host high school students from throughout Oklahoma during its annual FFA Agriculture Interscholastic Meet on Wednesday, April 7. The event provides an opportunity for agriculture students to hone their skills in areas ranging from practical animal science and land evaluation to leadership and business while preparing for the state FFA competition.

“After a one-year hiatus due to the pandemic, we’re thrilled to bring back the annual Agriculture Interscholastic competition, which has been a Cameron tradition for more than 50 years,” says Dr. Terry Conley, event coordinator. “The numerous contests allow high school students to prepare for their state competitions, as well as learning about the agriculture degree programs at CU.”

Students from 52 high schools across the state are registered to participate in 2021. The school districts they represent include Alex, Amber-Pocasset, Anadarko, Binger-Olney, Bristow, Burlington, Byng, Calumet, Central, Chandler, Cherokee, Cheyenne, Chickasha, Cleveland, Clinton, Coalgate, Cordell, Coyle, Elgin, Empire, Fletcher, Fort Cobb-Broxton, Geronimo, Guthrie, Hammon, Harrah, Kingfisher, Lawton, Lindsay, Little Axe, Mill Creek, Minco, Moore, Morris, Mountain View-Gotebo, Olustee-Eldorado, Perkins-Tryon, Rush Springs, Ryan, Sterling, Stillwater, Stratford, Temple, Thomas-Fay-Custer, Tuttle, Walters, Watonga, Waurika, Waynoka, Weatherford, Wetumka, and Woodward.

Students who are participating in livestock judging events will meet at the Great Plains Coliseum at 8:30 a.m.  All other participants will assemble at 8:30 a.m. at the Aggie Gym for a welcome assembly.  After receiving instructions, they will disperse to competitions on the Cameron campus as well as at the Cameron University farm.

Competitors will demonstrate their knowledge in a variety of Career Development Events (CDE) including Land Judging, Homesite Judging, Farm and Agribusiness Management, Food Science and Technology, Milk Quality and Products, Veterinary Science, Meats Evaluation and Management, and Livestock Judging.  In addition to these traditional contests, the Freshman Agriscience Quiz Bowl will also be offered this year. 

While most career development events are offered for FFA teams, the Cameron event provides opportunities for FFA and 4-H teams to compete in Livestock Judging (Senior FFA, Junior FFA, Junior 4-H and Senior 4-H classes) and Meats Evaluation and Management (FFA and 4-H classes).

For more information, go to https://www.cameron.edu/ag-bio-health/events/annual-ffa-interscholastic-competition  or call 580-581-2373.

Letter to the Editor

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As having been recently elected to the city council and appointed as mayor of Waurika, I am hearing good things about our town and some things that people think should be done differently or areas where we are falling short.

   The purpose of this letter is to point out some things that I think are being done to help our community grow. Many of you are watching the progress of the Sorosis Park renovation at Main and D St. The mural is finished and the sculptures of cows and horses donated by local farmers and ranchers will soon be returned to the wall. Watch for more progress in the coming months. This is made possible by having fund raisers and receiving donations from citizens interested in making our community a more attractive and user friendly place to live.

   Recently a family from out of town who came to attend the Ranch Rodeo said, “Waurika has one of the prettiest Main Streets we have ever seen”. They noticed Veterans Park, the beautiful flowers in pots and the Yaupon trees and shrubs in the brick planters. Our beautiful Main Street is made possible by Craig Williams and community volunteers.

   As we search for new business and industry to come to our community, they invariably ask about our medical care and our school system. The Jefferson County Hospital and Waurika Clinic are great assets for our community. We have a very good school system with excellent administrators and teachers and are very fortunate to have easy access to the Red River Technology Center in Duncan. We all want our students and young adults to have every opportunity for a great future.

   Prospective businesses also ask about the city’s financial condition and residential areas. Our city financial situation is good. We have a great group of city employees, led by strong management who are willing and able to make good decisions, develop excellent budgets and stay within those guidelines to assure we have emergency funds to deal with unforeseen issues. 

   Our police force is very effective and aware of the drug issues and burglaries we have in our community. They are working diligently along with the county sheriff’s department on these problems. We also have employees making residents aware of city codes pertaining to tall grass, weeds and trash on properties.

   Yes, we do have some issues! We have been told by consultants who have helped in our efforts to bring more business to Waurika and create a better place to live that we need to clean up our town. We are working hard on this and making progress. I have talked with people from Comanche, Anadarko, Ardmore and Nocona and they have all stated they had to clean up their town before they could grow.

   Venable Pipeline Company has been here for almost a year and are extremely pleased with the way they were accepted and treated like family in Waurika. The superintendent noted they were treated fair on everything they needed in our town and this was very different than other towns where they had headquartered. This makes me proud of our town and its people.

   Do we have it all worked out? No, but we have a beautiful Main Street, the best Veteran’s Park, a mural depicting the Chisholm Trail in what will be a park that we can all enjoy. We also have a large group of citizens willing to work for community improvement. Are we making progress?  Absolutely, because so many have the vision ingrained in their mind and the possibilities for our little town are great! 

   I ask for your support in working toward an even better community to be proud of and to be seen that way by anyone who chooses to locate here. Waurika Proud!

Sincerely,

Gary “Lebo” Duncan,

Mayor, Waurika, Oklahoma

Meet the Candidates for Waurika City Commission

This is your chance to get to know the candidates for seats on the Waurika City Commission.

We listed them in alphabetical order according to last names. However, we listed Mayor Carole Eakin first because she is the incumbent.

Each candidate was asked the same general questions. We asked them to tell us a little about themselves, why they wanted to serve (or continue to serve) on the city commission, and then lastly we let them say whatever they wanted that would help voters know them better.

Editor’s Note: Every candidate was given a chance to appear on video. However, some of them chose not to do so. We respect that. All the candidate’s profiles and interviews will appear in the upcoming week’s paper.

Note: Each candidate was allowed to say whatever he or she wanted and the length of each video was determined by the length of their answers.

Carole Eakin

Mayor Carole Eakin talks a little about where she grew up and her education at Oxford in England. She then talks about her time on the city commission and the things that have been accomplished during her twelve years serving the community. Mayor Eakin addresses the water rates and the state of the finances of the city. Lastly, she talks about what she would like to see accomplished for the city in the future.

Adam Brinson

Adam is the pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Waurika.

He was asked the same questions posed to the other candidates. He talks about his education and how he came to live in Waurika. During the interview, he talks about his views and what inspired him to become a candidate for the city commission. He simply wants to serve the needs of the people and do what is best for the city of Waurika.

Amber Delaney

Although Amber’s interview is the least lengthy of all the interviews, she is specific and to the point. Amber talks about her work at the Terral School. She discusses the importance of family, and her desires to see the city continue to prosper.

Gary “Lebo” Duncan

Gary is a native of Waurika. His family roots run deep here. In this interview, he speaks in depth about his experiences in business, his family history, and talks about things he would like to see accomplished in the city. Gary says he wants to see the city grow and he has various ideas of how that can happen. He wants to bring his business experience and leadership skills to the city commission.

As stated earlier, there will be more about the candidates in this next week’s paper.

Candidates who did not wish to participate in the video interview include:

Bobby Taylor

James Terry

Mark Lehew

New Program Instills Self Esteem in Teen Girls

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If you are the parent or grandparent of an Eight to Thirteen year old girl… please consider attending this informational Open House about a program that is coming to Waurika! Girls on the Run is a non-profit program that encourages pre-teen and early teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games, culminating in a celebratory 5k run. Waurika will have 2 “teams”, one for 3rd through 5th grades and another for 6th through 8th grades.

The Girls on the Run Southern Oklahoma Council states that “Now, more than ever, girls struggle to navigate a complex world. They struggle with belonging, finding and keeping positive friend networks, determining their own self-worth, and growing with confidence. Throughout the adolescent years, girls internalize negative messages that can have long-term effects. It doesn’t have to be this way! Girls on the Run provides a tool box, at a critical age, that allows them to access essential life skills in resolving conflict, managing emotions, making intentional decisions, finding joy and helping others. Uniquely, these provisions are rooted in their own experiential learning and through physical activity.”

The informational Open House is Wednesday, January 16th from 5:15 to 7:00 p.m. at the Waurika Elementary School cafeteria. Light refreshments will be served and there will be a fun Give Away!

The program has already garnered lots of support in our community. Local sponsors for the Waurika program include the Waurika Sorosis Club, Waurika Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson County Hospital, Waurika Clinic, Waurika Quik Mart, A&A Wind Pros, Marketing Solutions Group, Inc., Colt and Teddy Morrison, Dr. and Mrs. Rod Linzman, Ronnie and Sharon Morgan, and the Circle N Ranch. 

You can find out more about this after-school program by following this link: Girls on the Run – Official Site www.girlsontherun.org