By Ryan Moulds
The News Sports Writer
ATHENS–Guy Furr will begin his 15th season at Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) as the 10th head basketball coach in the school’s history. Furr will replace Kris Baumann who served as coach for four years before leaving to join the staff at UTEP.
In his 14-year tenure (1987-92, 2007-16), Furr served as assistant coach to the three winningest coaches in school history, Leon Spencer, Pat Smith and Baumann.
Furr began his TVCC career on Spencer’s staff in 1987. He left after the 1992 season to return 15 years later on Smith’s staff.
During his first tenure at TVCC, Furr was instrumental in recruiting Nick Van Exel and Shawn Kemp, both of whom went on to play in the NBA.
When Furr left TVCC, he didn’t leave the area. Remaining an Athens resident, he coached and was the head boys basketball coach and principal at Martins Mill High School for five years. He then worked at Kemp High School as an administrator for five years, including one season as interim head boys basketball coach. Furr left Kemp for Murchison ISD, where he was superintendent for five years.
He is also an experienced shooting instructor and has hosted camps for the Shot Doctor in 34 different states.
Furr is a native of Murray, Ky. After playing basketball at Bethel College in Tennessee, he earned his bachelor of science degree from Murray State University and his master’s degree from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Furr and wife Tina have two children, Alex, a recent graduate of Fresno State University and now a member of the women’s basketball coaching staff at Cameron University, and Preston, a recent graduate of Athens High School and now a student at the college.
Posted by : July 21, 2016| On :
Posted by : July 7, 2016| On :
By Ryan Moulds
Monitor Sports Writer
CEDAR CREEK LAKE AREA–The newest issue of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football magazine hit stores June 26 and gave fans a first look at over 1,400 Texas high school football teams.
The magazine had different takes on teams around the area. Three local teams in Kemp, Athens and Malakoff were picked to make the playoffs.
The Mabank Panthers are competing in district 8-4A this season and are picked to finish last. The seven team district is picked to finish in the order of Terrell, Kaufman, Van, Athens, Crandall, Brownsboro and Mabank.
The Panthers still have improvements to make before they can become a playoff team but a 7-2 JV team could mean that things are about to turn around.
Second year coach Mikey Thompson will have strong lines on both sides of the ball. Noel Rojo and Brandon Pierce headline a big offensive line that will protect whoever plays quarterback.
Running the ball against Mabank will be a tough task with defensive lineman Jacob Felts and Kevin Turner returning from last season.
Mabank has a solid foundation to build up from but the skill players are young and inexperienced. If Mabank wants to have success and take steps toward becoming a playoff team, those young players must grow up quickly.
Mabank went 2-7 last season with wins over two playoff teams in Kemp and Canton. The Panthers went winless in district and missed the playoffs.
The Athens Hornets are also in district 8-4A and are picked to finish in fourth place and to secure the final playoff spot in the district. Athens will be led by Head Coach Paul Essary.
The biggest hump that the Hornets will need to overcome is replacing running back Logan Fuller who had over 6,000 career rushing yards and signed to play at Tyler Junior College. Maalik Hall will split time at running back with Jaqualyon Bowman and they will hope to make up for Fuller’s absence.
Xavius Fulton will make the switch from receiver to quarterback. He will be tasked to replace Brandon Boyd. Athens is hoping to run the pistol on offense this season.
Defensively, linebacker Noah Bush might be the best player for the Hornets. He had 120 tackles last year as a junior and has already been getting attention from division one colleges. Between Bush, Hall, Zach Carson and Taylor Carson, Athens might have the best linebacker core in the district.
The Hornets will have the talent they need to compete on defense. In order to make it into the playoffs in a district with two state ranked teams, they must find what it takes to keep up on offense.
Last season, Athens went 8-4 and lost in the second round of the playoffs to Kennedale. The Hornets finished second in the district behind Kaufman.
The Malakoff Tigers enter the season with more hype than any other team in the area. They are picked to win district 9-3A and are ranked number four in the state. The eight team district is picked to finish in the order of Malakoff, Teague, Groesbeck, West, Palestine Westwood, Elkhart, Whitney and Eustace.
Everything starts with the quarterback for Malakoff. Judd Miller had 3,199 total yards and 46 touchdowns a season ago as a sophomore. He returns as a junior with more experience and with two big targets to throw to in QT Barker and Tyler Russell.
Jamie Driskell’s defense will be led by Dan’Yal Littleton, a fierce defensive end who can get after the quarterback. Other standouts on defense are Larry Coker, Zee Bailey, Caleb Adams and Breashawn Williams.
Malakoff has an explosive offensive that has a chance to be even better than they were last year. They have a defense to match up with anyone and should be in the running to make a deep playoff run. The Tigers have a legitimate shot to hold up a championship trophy at AT&T Stadium at the end of the year.
Malakoff went 10-2 last season and was knocked out of the playoffs by three time defending State Champion Cameron Yoe by one point. The Tigers finished second in district behind Teague, who beat Malakoff 28-7 in their rain soaked match-up. Malakoff returns 13 starters and the varsity roster will be bolstered by a JV squad that went 8-2 last season.
The Eustace Bulldogs and coach Heath Ragle find themselves in a tough spot. They are picked to finish last in district 9-3A and have a lot of people to prove wrong. The Bulldogs only return nine starters and have a JV team that went 2-7 last year.
On offense the Bulldogs will have to replace running back Keenan Hargest who did almost everything for the team last year, including playing quarterback.
James East and Cam Rodgers will split carries and take the load off new quarterback Alejandro Sanchez. Under Ragle, the Bulldogs have never been known as a passing team but they are hoping Sanchez’s speed gives them an edge.
Offensive lineman Mikey Marshall missed 2015 with an injury but returns for his senior season to anchor the line.
Defensively, the biggest player for Eustace will be linebacker JJ Hughes, who had 87 tackles last year. The defensive line will be stacked with Michael Schultz and Dylan Hunacker both returning. Stone Wadsworth will roam the secondary and is the most experienced defensive back on the team.
Eustace went 3-7 and 0-5 in district last season and missed out on the playoffs for the second year in a row. The Bulldogs only have one district win in the past two seasons.
After nearly a decade of hard times, things are finally looking up for the Kemp Yellowjackets. They will compete in district 6-3A and are picked to finish fourth in the district, grabbing the last playoff spot. The eight team district is picked to finish in the order of Sunnyvale, Grandview, Dallas Madison, Kemp, Scurry-Rosser, Maypearl, Life Oak Cliff and Palmer.
Third year coach Brandon Hankins has turned the football program around for Kemp. The winless season of 2014 is a distant memory as the Yellowjackets enter this season looking to prove that they belong back in the playoffs.
Kemp returns 17 starters and everything starts with sophomore quarterback Dreyson Watters. Watters was the District Newcomer of the Year last season when he ran for 2,500 yards and threw for 1,950 more as a freshman. He had 28 total touchdowns.
Watters won’t be short on targets to throw to either. Receivers Elijah Gardiner, Josiah Brewington and Alec Cooper all return for their senior seasons. Running back Alan Quezada ran for 750 yards and six touchdowns in a back-up role last year. Kemp will lean on him as the starter this year. Tyler Garrett, Kasey Cockrell and Joseph Lopez all return on the offensive line.
The biggest question mark on defense is linebacker. All three of Kemp’s linebackers graduated leaving a huge void. Sophomore Boomer Irvin will step in from a JV team that went 8-2 last year to help make up for the loss.
Passing against the Yellowjackets will be a risk with a secondary led by safety Kane Johnson. Corner back Jaise Bowie started as a freshman and will look to improve in his second season.
Kemp finished with a 4-7 record last season. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2008 and lost to Kirbyville in the first round of the playoffs.
The Cross Roads Bobcats will be playing in district 10-2A this season. They are picked to finish last. The six team district is picked to finish in the order of Big Sandy, Kerens, Gladewater Union Grove, Cayuga, Hawkins and Cross Roads.
The Bobcats are under new leadership this season. Former Skidmore-Tynan assistant coach Michael Gain takes over for a team that has not made the playoffs since 2003.
Despite history not being on their side, it may finally be time for optimism. Cross Roads won three games last season and only has one team on their schedule that finished last year with a winning record. Gain has been working hard with the team and thinks that they have what it takes to have success.
Taylor McKenzie will take over as quarterback for the Bobcats and Tyler Johnson is a proven work horse at the running back position. Johnson was injured halfway through the season last year and will hope to stay healthy to lead Cross Roads to more victories.
If everyone can stay healthy and the players buy in what coach Gain is selling them, Cross Roads could sneak into the playoffs in a weak district.
The Bobcats went 3-7 last season and looked strong early on but they went 0-5 in district play to end the year.
The Trinidad Trojans are picked to finish last in district 15-1A. The four team district is picked to finish in the order of Milford, Mount Calm, Oakwood and Trinidad. The top two teams make the playoffs.
Trinidad is looking for a new coach after Scott Hayes announced that he was leaving to take a coaching job at Rice High School June 29.
Whoever the new coach is will have one of the most exciting players in the district at their disposal in Jerry Bannister. Colby Snider is a proven quarterback and will make the coaching transition easier.
Other players to watch include Johnny Ayala,Eli Arnold, Talon Sims and Ronald Marcus. The toughest task will be to replace Javonte Hornbuckle and his 18 total touchdowns. No one player will be able to pick up the slack by himself but collectively it’s possible.
The district is very top heavy and Trinidad is a very experienced team. The Trojans have the chance to compete and play spoiler. Trinidad finished with a 3-7 record last year and was 0-3 in district.
The Athens Christian Prep Storm will be playing in TAPPS Division II District Four. They are picked to finish second. The five team district is picked to finish in the order of Longview Trinity, Athens Christian Prep, Greenville Christian, Longview Christian and Henderson Full Armor.
Coach Shawn San Miguel admitted that the team has a series of question marks this season. Younger players will have to step up if they want a winning record and a return to the playoffs.
Quarterback Zay Ridgle returns this season after putting up record numbers last year. Other returning players include Micah Santelli, Eli Ridgle, Gavin Hardin, Kaenan Nix and Cody Hershey.
Athens Christian Prep finished with a 6-5 record last season. They went 1-3 in district but it was enough to make the playoffs. They lost in the first round to end their season.
Posted by : June 9, 2016| On :
By Sariah Kendall
The News Staff Reporter
MALAKOFF– Julia Armstrong presented two scholarships to Malakoff High School students Jonathan Hernandez and Madelaine Walker, who also is Malakoff’s 2016 valedictorian, on May 26.
Both Hernandez and Walker have distinct and ambitious career goals planned for their futures.
Walker will study Genetic Research and Treatment at Baylor University and Hernandez will attend Tarleton State to pursue a degree in Criminal Justice upon completing his advanced individual training at Ft. Lee, VA., for the Army National Guard.
Posted by : May 5, 2016| On :
Special to The News
ATHENS–Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) Vice President of Instruction Dr. Jerry King was named President Pro Tem of the college May 2. The announcement came from board President Ray Raymond after a special called board meeting.
“It is a great honor and privilege to be selected by the TVCC Board of Trustees as the TVCC President Pro-Tem,” King said. “I appreciate the Board’s confidence and look forward to working with them to build on our strengths and improve our weaknesses. I am passionate about TVCC and excited about the opportunity to pursue excellence together.”
King has been with HCJC/TVCC since 1975, serving as a business/economics professor, Dean of Workforce Education, Associate Vice President of Workforce Education/Business Affairs and since 2008, Vice President of Instruction and Chief Instructional Officer.
He also served as Mayor of Athens from 1995-2005 and Board Vice-Chairman of Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative from 2008-2012, President of Athens Noon Kiwanis Club, Vice President of the Athens Chamber of Commerce and Henderson County United Way, President of East Texas Economic Development and East Texas Tech-Prep Consortium.
He has served on the boards of the Texas A&M – Commerce Alumni Association, East Texas Economic Development Board, and Workforce Solutions of East Texas, among many others. He has been recognized as Athens Citizen of the Year and received numerous service awards including one from his alma mater and the Henderson County Retired Teachers.
A native of Commerce, King is married to retired AISD and TVCC teacher Dosha King. They have a son, Clint, daughter-in-law Haley and grandson Cruz, who live in New Braunfels.
King holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration in Business and Economics, and Doctor of Education in Community College Supervision, Curriculum and Instruction from Texas A&M University – Commerce.
Posted by : April 28, 2016| On :
The News Staff Reports
ATHENS–Trinity Valley Community College confirms college President Glendon Forgey was suspended with pay Monday, April 25.
Board President Ray Raymond said the board has been presented with confilicting governmental documents by Forgey without acceptable explanation.
The school board is elected by the citizens of the college district to oversee the college and its administrators and act in the best interest of TVCC students and staff.
Raymond said the board takes their responsibilities very seriously and has determined the concerns regarding the president’s conduct should be fully investigated in order to properly fulfill its duties to the public.
An investigation into his contract is pending.
Posted by : March 24, 2016| On :
the news photo by pearl cantrell
A grant of $6,425 from the Malakoff Education Foundation will allow six Tool Elementary teachers to get a mobile Smart Table for their classroom, for collaborative computer projects.
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—The Malakoff ISD School Board approved the 2016-17 School Calendar Tuesday to include 76,515 minutes. The state now measures school attendance in terms of minutes, Superintendent Randy Perry explained, with 75,600 minutes a minimum requirement. The 900 extra minutes are built in for bad weather time off, or early dismissal on days an athletic team is going to compete at state, he said.
The change calls for the first day of school for students to begin on Aug. 22 and the last day be May 25, 1917, before the Memorial Day Holiday, he noted. The school day will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 3:25 p.m. and five minutes later at the high school, while buses are in transit to the campus.
Other important board decisions Tuesday included amending local policy to increase the superintendent’s discretionary spending from $10,000 to $25,000. The trusting relationship between the board and the superintendent was noted, along with a change in state ethics law that would delay by 30 days the district’s ability to respond promptly to unforeseen needs.
The board also granted permission for the superintendent to extend the district’s current contract for electrical services in order to lock in a low rate through 2025, in view of the likelihood of rates increasing with the projected reduction in coal-powered generation plants. “It’s a hedge against any spikes in prices way down the line,” Perry said. Currently, the district is paying 4 cents per kilowatt hour with two years left on its contract. The current extension offer is for a little less than 5 cents per kilowatt hour (.04599 -.0469/KWH), he said.
At the top of the meeting, Perry recognized Malakoff ISD Police Chief Stacy Hillhouse for her prompt action to halt a shooter in the parking lot at a basketball playoff game in Teague last month. “It had nothing to do with any Malakoff people,” Perry said, except that our police chief drove up on the action and stopped the suspect, and that two bullets hit a car belonging to a Malakoff resident attending the game. “We’re very proud of Stacy Hillhouse.”
The meeting was held at the Tool Elementary School, which was advantageous because the Malakoff Education Foundation presented a grant request to a group of teachers at the campus.
MEF President David Bullock presented a check for $6,425 for a smart table. The technology is used as a social, inclusive, and captivating collaboration tool that makes it easy to get young students excited about learning. It’s a great way to enhance the social and academic skills of active learners and ensure all students can achieve success. Third, fourth and fifth grade teachers Kristi Dalrymple, Stephanie Youngman, Tasha French, Amanda Jones, Jolinda Caar and Kristina Mast submitted a grant proposal to the foundation and were extremely pleased by the presentation. “They’ve been wanting to get that table for years, ever since they saw it demonstrated at a teachers’ conference,” Tool Elementary Principal Crystal Calhoun told The News.
The foundation also presented a check to install 15 new overhead projectors throughout the district. “Teachers indicated that the most used piece of equipment in the classroom was the overhead projector,” Bullock said. “So we thought some of these could probably stand to be replaced.” He presented a check for $13,845 for the project for a grand total of $20,270. To date, the foundation has distributed $123,000. “They (MEF) put in a lot of effort to taking care of Malakoff students,” Perry said.
In other business, the board members:
reviewed the Quarterly Investment Report, with a total of $13,961,893.75 as of Feb. 29 invested in three different accounts, garnering various amounts of interest between (.15 to .50 percent).
Certified that the superintendent may serve on the Region VII Education Service Center’s Advisory Committee; and that instructional materials in all subjects other than physical education meet or exceed TEKS requirements for 2016-17.
Viewed a summer plan for teachers’ professional development in the use of technology and best practices in the classroom.
Approved three properties to be sold at the Sheriff’s Tax Foreclosure Sale,
Approved a budget amendment to add funding received from an insurance settlement in connection with the overturning of a school bus last year. It was noted that the district paid a $1,000 deductible and came out even on the costs of repairs.
Posted by : February 4, 2016| On :
Jacob Cole has been named the 2016 Beekeeper Ambassador for the East Texas Beekeepers Association.
Special to The News
MALAKOFF–The East Texas Beekeepers Association (ETBA) recently named Malakoff High School freshman Jacob Cole as the 2016 Beekeeper Ambassador.
Cole will travel throughout East Texas speaking at fairs, schools and other venues about the importance of honey bees and keep the media and the public up-to-date on the ETBA Ambassador Program Facebook page.
“The perfection of the honey bee cells always amazes me,” Cole said.
“It is fascinating how each cell is built for a specific need, and the size varies depending on whether the cell is for a queen, worker or dron bee to grow in. Being able to watch the bees fly in and out of the hive loaded with pollen and nectar is one of my favorite things to do.”
Cole began beekeeping in 2013 through the ETBA Youth Scholarship Program. He has spoken at various Henderson County Master Gardener events and loves passing along his knowledge of beekeeping and inspiring others to get involved too.
Cole earned his Master Beekeeper certification in 2014, and will advance to the next level this year.
Coles also loves to hunt, read and participate in 4-H activities. He is a food pantry volunteer and teaches children in the garden at South Athens Elementary School. He hopes to become a Texas Game Warden.
To book Cole for a speaking event, contact Lani Lanchester at email@example.com.
Posted by : January 28, 2016| On :
Courtesy Photo/Toni Garrard Clay, AISD
At the recommendation of Athens ISD Board President Robert Risko, the school district trustees have approved and adopted a resolution nominating Blake Stiles for 2016 Superintendent of the Year “for his exemplary and visionary leadership toward improving student performance in our schools,” Risko said. “We have a great captain steering this ship.”
Posted by : January 21, 2016| On :
Celebratory reception set for 3:30 p.m. Friday at Tool Elementary
Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Rep. John Wray, which superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple, Billy Sparks, board president Rick Vieregge, Perry.
the news Photo/Pearl Cantrell
Malakoff ISD School Board members are honored Jan. 14 with gifts from each campus and received a Texas State House Resolution, courtesy of District 10 Texas House Rep. John Wray, which Superintendent Randy Perry holds (center). Pictured are (from left) Jason Dalrymple (Vice President), Billy Sparks, Rick Vieregge (President), Perry, Tim Mattingly (Secretary) and Mike Monroe. Not pictured are board members Gary Woolverton and Dustin Youngman.
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
MALAKOFF—School trustees heard that Malakoff ISD is the smallest district to ever have back-to-back years as nominations for the National Blue Ribbon School recognition. Now in its 34th year, the Department of Education program recognizes public and private elementary, middle and high schools where students perform at very high levels. A final criterion is that nominated schools have an enrollment of 20 percent or greater from an economically disadvantaged population.
Tool Elementary School was listed as one of just 26 schools in Texas to be nominated and its enrollment is nearly 80 percent from an “economically disadvantaged population.”
Principal Christal Calhoun credited the diligent work of her staff, teachers and especially the students for achieving the scholastic results on her campus. “The staff and kids are very excited,” she said.
Calhoun then described how she broke it down for the 213 children enrolled in pre-k through fifth grade at her campus. At a suggestion from one of the teachers at Tool Elementary School, “We first looked at a map of the entire United States and then of Texas. Then I told them how many schools there were in Texas, including private ones, upwards of 8,000. But they still didn’t get it. But when I showed them a clear plastic barrel containing 8,000 dry black beans and pulled out 26 of them, then I pointed out just one of these. Then they understood what a distinction the Blue Ribbon nomination really is!”
Since the announcement came Jan. 13 and Calhoun passed the news to her students, she said parents have been calling to find out when the “Blue Party” was going to happen and what they could do to help. The district has set a congratulatory reception for 3:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 22 at the school. “All our loyal supporters from the community are invited to attend,” Calhoun said.
During the Jan. 14 school board meeting, Calhoun wrapped up her campus report by looking toward Assistant Superintendent Sybil Norris and Malakoff Elementary School Principal Ronny. Snow for their assistance and guidance in setting the goals that need to be met and the necessary reporting instruments to bring the school through the process to win the 2016 Blue Ribbon Award. The final selections are made in September, school trustees heard. Malakoff Elementary School earned the National Blue Ribbon Award for 2015.
“We, the students and staff, are committed to coming to school every day and doing our very best,” she said. The average daily attendance at Tool Elementary School is an unheard of 97 percent and 14 new students have been recently enrolled, she added. The school, and all the other Malakoff ISD campuses, are beginning twice and thrice weekly individual tutoring sessions.
“Not many school boards get to see that!” Board chairman Rick Vieregge said. “This is a real honor,” Perry said. “We’re the only school district below 5A to do that!”
Snow reported that the State Board of Education has invited him and select teachers to join them in Austin April 8 for special recognition of their Blue Ribbon Award. Snow added that after school tutoring begins on his campus as well and that it’s a real grind that makes for long days, but one that he and his staff feel makes all the difference.
Both elementary schools are seeing the addition of iPads for third-sixth grade classrooms, so every class will have access to six to eight of these, Snow said.
In addition to special gifts and recognition for the school board members during January’s School Board Appreciation month, trustees were treated to a music video produced by students of Malakoff Middle School, that has also been played on the local radio station during morning drive time. Trustees were impressed by the words and sentiments expressed, both personal and individualized. “These are really neat kids,” Middle School Principal Quinton Watkins said.
In other business, trustees:
• Accepted the 2014-15 audit from Smith Lambright and Associates, who noted a strong fund balance of $5.6 million and a new accounting of unfunded liability from future retirement earnings. “You don’t have to budget for it,” J.W. Lambright said. “Just know that your share comes to $1,468,000.”
• Noted the school attendance is now being measured in minutes instead of days.
• Reviewed the highlights of the Texas Academic Performance Report. Malakoff ISD met state standards or above in all important indicators, Norris pointed out. The full report is available on line at www.Malakoffisd.org and as printouts at each campus and administration building.
• Heard progress on baseball field lighting and other improvements have been hampered by the wet weather and possible options for getting around that in time for the season to start.
• Reset the July board meeting from the third Monday in July to the second Monday, July 11, to accommodate a request from the superintendent.
• Evaluated the superintendent’s performance and extended his contract another three years, through 2019.
Posted by : January 14, 2016| On :
THE NEWS PHOTO/RUSSELL SLATON
Malakoff ISD Superintendent Randy Perry (right) tells fellow Malakoff Rotarians Jan. 5 about construction projects at Malakoff High School, including the new fieldhouse building underway at the football field featuring bigger and better concessions and restrooms.
Former state Educator of Year joined MISD
By Russell Slaton
The News Correspondent
MALAKOFF – Malakoff Rotarians hosted Malakoff High School principal Martin Brumit during the club’s weekly luncheon held at the Flagg House Jan. 5.
Before Malakoff, Brumit served as assistant principal at Denton Ryan High School until he was hired by Malakoff ISD in the summer of 2013. Soon after, Brumit was awarded Educator of the Year by the Association of Texas Professional Educators for his work as an administrator and later accepted the award in Austin.
Brumit began by highlighting a “very successful fall” for Malakoff High School athletic teams, including the powerhouse Tiger football team under Coach Jamie Driskell getting within one point of taking down the three-time defending state champion in the playoffs.
The MHS volleyball team made the playoffs for the first time since 2007.
Basketball is underway now, with the girls team ranked No. 12 in the state, including defeating a Class 6A team (Malakoff is 3A) by 20 points at the Kaufman tournament, which the Lady Tigers won.
One-act play is in full swing, with the students putting in much practice over winter break. One-act play did very well last spring, Brumit said, and has a chance this year to move to state competition. Brumit added that 20 Malakoff students went to University Interscholastic League (UIL) regional academic competition under the guidance of Jessica Bentley, MISD UIL director.
Spring sports, including golf, track, baseball and softball, begin at the end of January. The MHS softball team boasts two college-bound pitchers, senior Candace Denis (University of Massachusetts) and Hazel Puempel (Texas Woman’s University in Denton). Coach Matt Wittram’s softball team last season included six freshmen and the team advanced three rounds into the playoffs, Brumit added.
February 1 will see the next round of biannual UIL realignment, with Malakoff possibly being matched up with different teams in district as well as regional play. Malakoff is hoping to play schools that are closer, Brumit said.
The Future Farmers of America (FFA) agriculture program at MHS will compete at the Fort Worth Stock Show Jan. 21, then San Antonio, Houston and back to Henderson County in April. Brumit said the school’s ag barn is “very nice” and includes cameras for remote animal monitoring. Coach Driskell’s son had a best-in-show pig last spring, Brumit added.
A new ninth-grade English teacher and published author, Beth Fehlbaum, has charged her class with writing a novel of several thousand words, Brumit reported. Malakoff High School administers the SAT on campus (a change), and with unlimited dual courses, more students are able to graduate from Malakoff with both a high school and associate’s degree. Every college student who took Microsoft’s software certification test passed the exam, he reported.
Malakoff High School is expecting 90-95 graduates this spring, which is up from 70 last year. Brumit said he was ready for spring and to “spring into the New Year.”
Superintendent Randy Perry, a Rotary member and the club’s past president, also informed Malakoff Rotarians about the nesw of the school district. Student enrollment stands at 1,287 students, up about 60 over this time last year. Perry said the district’s greatest challenge is to get all the students to the highest academic strata, across all socioeconomic backgrounds. “Our middle school has been doing wonderful and it bodes well for the future,” Perry said.
He also told Rotarians that state law allows districts to measure the daily attendance rates of attendance by minutes, instead of days. So, instead of 180 days, students must attend for 75,660 minutes. “That gives us flexibility to go longer days to get instruction finished by Memorial Day,” Perry said, adding that he hoped to do so for the 2016-17 school year.
The Malakoff superintendent also briefed Rotarians about construction projects proceeding at Malakoff High School. All are funded by a May 2015 bond package, approved by voters. The football fieldhouse, concessions and restroom facility will be bricked to match the high school, Perry said. Restrooms will be on each end, with more allotted to the home side. The visiting team will enter the building through the back, with concrete all around the facility, especially in the front.
The baseball field’s lighting project has been delayed by the weather, but the concrete bases are in place. The brick backstop is almost finished, and the perimeter behind home plate will feature netting instead of chain-link fencing.
Contractors have completed wiring for high-definition video cameras at the high school, with its front entrance being more secure, requiring visitors to buzz in at the double doors. Video cameras will be installed in all campus buildings, including Tool Elementary School. Perry and the district maintenance director will have remote access, he said.