Education/Schools

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Rep. Ratcliffe honors military academy appointees at inaugural recognition ceremony

Including Texas High School’s Hannah Klein

Hannah Klein with Rep. Ratcliffe and her family

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) honored this year’s class of military appointees from the 4th Congressional District of Texas this weekend at an inaugural recognition ceremony held in Farmersville. 

“I was pleased for the opportunity to personally congratulate this year’s class of military academy appointees and thank them for their commitment to serving our country at our inaugural recognition ceremony for the 4th District of Texas,” Ratcliffe said. “Being appointed to attend a military academy is a distinct honor, and we’ve got an extremely impressive group of students in this year’s class. I’m confident that these young leaders will go on to achieve great accomplishments both in their college careers and beyond that will make Northeast Texas very proud.”

This year’s appointees include:

Baley Brown from Denison High School – U.S. Air Force AcademyCameron Fallon from Denison High School – U.S. Merchant Marine AcademyWilliam (Forrest) Harbin from Rockwall High School – U.S. Air Force AcademyPreston Horowitz from Whitewright (homeschooled) – U.S. Merchant Marine AcademyHannah Klein from Texas High School – U.S. Naval AcademyMichael (Bijan) Nichols from Rockwall-Heath High School – US Naval AcademyDavid Reichert from Jesuit College Preparatory School of Dallas – U.S. Naval AcademyNicholas Reid from Anna High School – U.S. Air Force Academy (Not Pictured)Aaron Cory from Rockwall High School – United States Military Academy West Point (Not Pictured)Ford Blaylock from USMA Preparatory High School – United States Military Academy West Point (Not Pictured)Carter Pearce from Anna (homeschooled) – U.S. Air Force Academy

Left to Right: Hannah Klein, Bijan Nichols, Forrest Harbin, Sam Mosby, Rep. John Ratcliffe, Cameron Fallon, Preston Horowitz, David Reichert, and Baley Brown

Each year, Members of Congress nominate graduating high school seniors from their congressional districts to attend one of our nation’s prestigious military academies. Nominees are evaluated by the academies they apply to based on a “whole person” approach, which assesses academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, leadership skills, physical aptitude, character, and motivation as factors for admission. 

Due to the high influx of applicants and low number of spots available each school year, receiving an appointment to attend a military academy is a prestigious honor worthy of national recognition. 
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Bullying Reported at Local School District

Local Bikers prepare to ride against bullying at Liberty Eylau School District

Bullying is a word no parent wants to hear or even think about when it comes to their own child’s safety.  School districts around the area have added policies to address bullying, cracked down on it, and even had the training to help promote “anti-bullying” agendas.  Despite the progress by many schools, the parents of some students in the Liberty Eylau School District feel that enough is not being done in the district. 

At this time three parents have come forward and contacted the Four States News with complaints about the Liberty Eylau schools.  One parent has pointed out that bullying of her daughter has been going on for well over three school years now with no real action from the district.  Another parent indicated that bullying has progressed from verbal threats of violence and even sexual threats to acts of violence and sexual assault.  There is a police report being investigated at this time. 

One parent stated that much of the bullying has now progressed into assault and even sexual assault for her daughter.  She has reported this to campus police, and there is an investigation going according to the parent, but no action or corrective action has been taken as of this date.  This parent stated that since she has reported the incidents, she has now learned there are other parents with the same problems for their children.  The parent said that “we are banding together to make a statement and to not let our daughters’ voices be left unheard.”  Based on her initial discussions, she feels the problem is district-wide, and while her daughter’s incident occurred at the middle school, she has been notified of issues in other schools within the district as well.  The parent said it was not okay for these students to continue in mainstream school while her daughter and others live in fear of being bullied daily.  

Last Friday several local bikers including members of the
Texarkana Fallen Bikers Memorial Wall and others joined together to escort the
children to school in an effort to promote “Stomp Out Bullying” at Liberty Eylau
and make a positive impact.  The bullying
has allegedly affected not only young girls in the district but also many of
the young boys in the schools.   After
the escort last Friday morning, one parent attempted to escort her child into
the school and was denied access.  When
she questioned why she could not enter the school to help her child feel
comfortable, she was told that only her child could enter.  The parent stated that no other reasons were
provided for why they could not enter the school and they only stated that
“no adults would enter the school.” 
Options such as signing in at the office and visiting her child’s
classroom were not offered.  When the
parent asked about eating breakfast or lunch with her child, it was denied as
well despite those options being part of the daily options for parents in the
district. Overall the parents are merely asking the officials at the Liberty Eylau school district to address the problem of bullying at the schools.  They feel that they have brought it to the district’s attention and at this time the district has done nothing to address their concerns.   They now think they have no choice except to reach to outside news sources, connect with other parents, and band together to address their concerns.   The Liberty Eylau Handbook states on page 38 that Bullying is prohibited by the district.  The handbook goes on to describe how the district will investigate and who may report bullying.  The handbook also notes that bullying may be reported on the district’s website and that it may be reported anonymously.   Anyone having knowledge of Bullying, assault, or sexual assault occurring on any Liberty Eylau campus is encouraged to contact the district and report it.   The district offers the online reporting at Liberty Eylau Website.   Those feeling their concerns are not adequately addressed, may reach out to other parents and local authorities. 
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Oklahoma Legislative Committees Advance Equal Opportunity Scholarship Expansions

Oklahoma Flag

OKLAHOMA CITY – Committees in the Oklahoma House and Senate have passed two bills expanding the Equal Opportunity Education Scholarship program. The program currently offers tax credits to donors who give to non-profit organizations funding innovative learning opportunities in rural public schools, or that fund scholarships for students attending private school.Opportunity Scholarship donations support STEM and arts programs in rural public schools, such as Chickasha High School’s robotics team. In the private sector, schools like Cristo Rey Oklahoma City Catholic High School and Crossover Preparatory Academy in Tulsa rely on Opportunity Scholarships to offer free or vastly discounted college-prep educations to underserved, inner-city communities.Although proven to be successful, the Opportunity Scholarship program’s growth has been hindered by a tax-credit cap. Currently, the state can only pay out $5 million in tax credits for donors. That limit has been reached for two years in a row, which has discouraged additional contributions.House Bill 2621, by Rep. Jon Echols, increases the tax credit cap to $60 million, and also allows larger school districts to benefit from programs supporting public schools. Continue Reading →

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5th Annual Fan Fest Held in Texarkana

Texarkana, TX- Football teams from around the area rolled into the Texas Convention Center for the 5th Annual Fan Fest sponsored by Fox Sports and local station 1400 am.  Teams were accompanied by cheerleaders, bands, and dance teams for each school.  The event was held today from 10 a.m. and will end this evening around 5:00. Various vendors from sports centers, booster clubs, and health food suppliers were on hand for the event. The local Fox radio center from 1400 am was interviewing coaches, band directors, and others for the day. With a variety of schools from the area, Arkansas High was given the honor by the announcer as having the “greatest fans for an Arkansas school here today.”  Naturally, the announcer neglected to point out the small fact that Arkansas High was the only school from Arkansas represented at the event.  Overall, the event was held with a spirit of sportsmanship and good, clean fun for all present. Continue Reading →

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Parents Talk To Your Child About Threats

It’s that time of year again when kids are excited to return to school, teachers are thrilled to see new faces, and parents are relieved to be sending their children to school so laundry can finally be caught up and put up… well, maybe the parents are excited.  It is more likely that the kids and teachers are more than a little apprehensive about the new year.  There will be new faces, new classes, new friends, old friends, and in many cases it can be overwhelming for students from kindergarten to senior high.  You can buy all the supplies and get as ready as possible for the new year, but there is some stuff parents need to consider in this new age that was not as important years ago. Unfortunately, we live in a time of school shootings, threats that develop into actual events, and a general fear in society of what will happen next.  In the midst of all this concern, kids are still kids.  Kids joke, they talk, and sometimes, they simply do not think before they act.  Parents, this is where you have to step up.  I recently talked with a parent whose child had made a comment, a joke basically, about bringing a gun to school.  While the child thought nothing about the statement, the teachers, administrators, and law viewed it a little different.  The next thing that child knew, he was handcuffed, in the back of a police car, and on his way to stand before a judge.  Needless to say, for a ten-year-old little boy, this was terrifying.  The child explained that he was simply “joking” but his joke was taken seriously by all concerned.  A frantic mother had to rush to the courthouse and address the judge.  Parents, you have to take time to prevent this from happening to your child and the time to do that is now in a two-step discussion. The first discussion you need to have with your child is about idle threats.  You should explain how serious a threat can be taken by someone else, even if the child is only joking.  You need to inform your child that he or she should never make statements like, “I’m going to shoot you,” or “I’ll just kill everyone,” or even something as innocent as “I’ve got a gun in my boot!”  Your child should know that no threat, joking or serious, should ever be made.  Along those lines, your child should be told that if someone makes a threat to harm him or her or even others, that he or she has a responsibility to inform a teacher or school administrator immediately.   Depending on your child, it may be appropriate to set forth a rule or a consequence if the child does make a threat – joking or not.  Perhaps your child needs to know that X-Box will be off limits for the rest of the year, or that he or she might end up in jail.  You need to impress upon your child that threats, joking or not, should not be made at school or anywhere else.  If needed, tell your child about the kid who made a joke and ended up before the judge in handcuffs. The second thing you need to discuss in this area with your child is the need to not take any questionable items to school.  Questionable items can be things that someone might consider to be a weapon.  Some of these items are clearly marked in school handbooks, but your child may need a reminder.  The child should know to never take a knife, sharp fingernail file, razor blades, bullets or shells – used or not,  anything that looks like a weapon and most importantly never take a gun to school.  Any of these items could result in an immediate suspension or even expulsion from school.  The action could be taken regardless of the child’s age. Continue Reading →

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$5k Donation Establishes Student Emergency Grant Fund at Texarkana College

 
Check Presentation Ceremony

Presented by Joey and Jamie Martin

Thursday, June 21, 2018

2:00 PM

Nelson Administration Building

Texarkana College

2500 N. Robison Road

Texarkana, Texas

Texarkana, TX- June 20, 2018- The Texarkana College Foundation will receive a $5,000 donation to establish an Emergency Grant Program for students enrolled in Texarkana College’s nursing and workforce training programs. The fund is made possible by the generous support of Joey and Jamie Martin. “We are pleased to provide more resources to Texarkana College that are dedicated to supporting students in times of greatest need,” said Joey Martin. “Emergency grants are a bridge to college completion and the financial security a degree can provide.” The fund will help low-income students with financial emergencies that often cause them to drop out of college or fall way behind due to transportation problems or health issues. Brandon Washington, Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education, said access to the emergency fund will help TC students cover expenses just beyond their means and will allow them to better focus on successful course completion. Continue Reading →

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Texarkana College Trustees Approve Strategic Goals Leading to Greater Student Access to Higher Education

Monday, June 18, 2018, Texarkana, Texas- The Texarkana College Board of Trustees met today to approve the institution’s two-year strategic plan including its vision, mission, core values and beliefs.  The approval of the plan was the final step in setting measurable goals for the College that will advance this community through attainable higher education and lifelong learning opportunities. The plan establishes the core values of Texarkana College, which include opportunity, excellence, community and success, and shows the top priorities to be:

Enhancing, upgrading and renovating facilities to meet state and federal ADA compliance standards and modernizing instructional space,
active involvement in a regional economic development initiative effort, and
reaching $10 million in TC Foundation assets by 2020 and growing the TC Alumni & Friends Network to 1,000 members by 2018

 

“Over the next two years, we will measure progress by our level of adherence to these values, priorities and our mission,” said TC President James Henry Russell. “Making informed decisions is important now more than ever for the future of Texarkana College and our community.”

In other business, Dr. Donna McDaniel, Vice President of Instruction, recognized the 2018 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Teaching in Excellence Award Winners representing Texarkana College. Denise Johnson, biology faculty member, and Dr. John Dixon Boyles, Dean of Business & Social Sciences, received the prestigious award at the NISOD national conference held on May 27, 2018, in Austin, Texas. McDaniel said Johnson and Boyles go above and beyond for their students and make significant contributions to our community in helping build a college-going culture. Continue Reading →

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BEST Robotics announces CAMP CODE for GIRLS

AUSTIN, Texas, /PRNewswire/ — BEST Robotics is looking to give young women a head start on future STEM jobs. This summer, female students entering grades 6 through 8 are invited to push their robotics knowledge at CAMP CODE for Girls, a three-day, 12-hour coding camp. Presented in collaboration with Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) and funded by the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), this hands-on learning experience is designed to provide challenging yet rewarding learning opportunities in an environment aimed at fostering interest in computer coding and programming. “Diversity in coding and in STEM at large have long been issues, particularly related to the inclusion of girls and young women,” said BEST Robotics executive director, Rosemary Mendel. “As a STEM and robotics education organization whose executive team is almost entirely female, we’re especially thrilled to partner with the Texas Workforce Commission in an endeavor that is dedicated to the spirit of inclusion and gives young women access to the tools they need to join our future workforce.” Continue Reading →

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Rep. Ratcliffe announces Bowie County Rising Lone Star winners

WASHINGTON – Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) announced today the 2018 Rising Lone Star winners from Bowie County. The recipients included Timothy Brown and Corey Cox from Liberty Eylau High School; Brandy Nicole Swink and Joe Sanders Hendrix from Redwater High School; Emily Jennings and Gage Jones from Maud High School; and Philip Moore and Madison Whisenhunt from Hooks High School. “Today’s students are tomorrow’s leaders, and the Rising Lone Star program gives us the opportunity to showcase young folks who’ve distinguished themselves on the fast track to success. I look forward to seeing what they’ll accomplish as thoughtful, engaged members of the Northeast Texas community in the years to come,” Ratcliffe said. Ratcliffe launched the Rising Lone Star award program to recognize high school students throughout Texas’ 4th District who exhibit outstanding leadership or service in their schools and communities. Continue Reading →

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Genoa Band Banquet 2018

Genoa, AR- Genoa Schools held their band banquet for the beginner and advanced band members last Saturday the 19th.  This was the first banquet for Mr. Gray, the band director, and the last banquet for graduating seniors.  The guest and band members enjoyed a meal and a slideshow presentation of pictures from the 2017-2018 band year.  Pictures included game performances, public performances, and competitions the band had participated in over the year. During the event, Gray thanked the parents, students, and Band Boosters.  He noted that he could not do everything without the support group in the Genoa community.  Graduating seniors were recognized and given a gift.  Students Chris Battle, Skyler Burris, Faith Overcast, and Harley Hendrix will be graduating this year.  They took pictures with Gray and were each allowed to speak to their fellow band members if they wished from the stage. Mr. Gray was presented with a framed picture of the 2017-2018 Genoa Band.  Students then also gave Gray a case of Monster Drinks – apparently this is one of the band director’s favorite drinks.  The group closed out the evening taking fun pictures with rabbit ears over their fellow band students, fingers on noses, pointing at one another, and making silly faces.  While the crowd could not be certain from where they were seated, it appeared that these pictures may have been taken at the direction of Gray.  At the heart of it all, it was apparent that Gray is not just the band director for these kids, but he is also a committed and dedicated member of the Genoa community willing to hang out and just be “with the band.” Continue Reading →

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