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Five candidates file for School board race

The filing period for the Piedmont Public School District School Board seats is over and a total of five residents have thrown their name into the two races.

In School Board Seat No. 1, incumbent Stanley Nance and Tamra States have filed.  In the race for Seat No. 4, incumbent Alan Blankenship, Jimmy Spivey and Aaron Chester have filed.

The School Board elections will take place on Feb. 8 and is open to all eligible voters living within the Piedmont school district.

District working on Washington Ave. site for new school

Superintendent James White addressed the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce on the details of a proposed fifth- and sixth-grade school building.

The Piedmont Public School District is in the process of finalizing a location for a proposed new school building at the intersection of Washington Ave. and 7th St. in south Piedmont, near the Skyline housing development.

In an address to the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce, superintendent James White said the district was hoping to work out the final details of the location in the next week and that it was important for the new school to be located inside the Piedmont city limits.

“We were always looking for a site inside the city of Piedmont,” White said.  “We are in the process of making that final right now.”

The school district is asking voters to approve a $19.5 million bond measure on Dec. 14 to fund a new fifth- and sixth-grade school building.  If approved, the new school is scheduled to open in Aug. 2012.

Miss Oklahoma pays visit to Piedmont

Miss Oklahoma, Emoly West, spoke at Piedmont Middle School on Tuesday, delivering a message about the importance of character and setting goals.

Mothers and daughters in Piedmont got a special treat on Tuesday, when Miss Oklahoma Emoly West came and spoke to them at the middle school. West spoke to the girls about the importance of character and what it takes to be a real princess.

“When I was young, my mother and I would read Proverbs and Psalms every night,” West said. “Proverbs 31 truly spoke to me because it talked about how to be a woman of character.”

West spoke to the girls about setting goals and how important character is to someone’s life. She explained how it’s not what you get or receive, it’s who you are when no one is watching that truly defines who you are.

West also told the story about her journey to becoming Miss Oklahoma, and how she fell short four times before reaching her goal. Each year, West learned a new lesson and grew.

“The first year I went to the Miss Oklahoma Pageant, I didn’t even make the top 10,” West explained. “I watched and learned from that Miss Oklahoma and learned how important being compassionate to others is.”

As she competed in more pageants she learned the importance of humility, determination, enthusiasm, and leadership. In West’s last year she could compete, she finally came to her most important realization.

“When I realized that no matter what happened, life was going to be good, that’s when it all came together,” she explained. “That’s when I finally became who I was supposed to be.”

Talking to girls and boys of all ages is important to West for many reasons. One of those reasons is trying to affect someone in a positive way and make them better.

“My life is not my own, right now,” West said. “I’m so grateful for every opportunity I get to talk to anyone. I was contacted by Piedmont and asked to come speak at this event.

“It’s important for me to explain how character affects all of us, and how it transcends everything. In this age of technology, and in an environment where bad behavior is often rewarded, we can easily get caught up in this bad environment. It’s important that we treat others well and become productive citizens. We all need to go back to the golden rule.”

West will continue traveling around the state until her reign as Miss Oklahoma ends. She will also be competing in the Miss USA pageant in about  six weeks.

Success found beyond the field in Piedmont band program

Piedmont High School senior Kaylie Wilson practice during a summer camp earlier this year. The Pride of Piedmont marching band would eventually win its ninth state title in 10 years.

When it comes to high school athletics or activities, coaches and instructors will tell you it’s not all about winning, but instead about helping students become successful adults.  For the Pride of Piedmont marching band, both success in life and in competition have become a routine.

Piedmont’s marching band has made winning state titles the norm, winning nine in the past 10 years, but for band director Darnell Zook, winning competitions has never been the primary goal.

“Pursue excellence, and success will pursue you,” Zook said in an interview before the start of the marching season.  “I tell our kids that if they work hard and do their best, we are going to be successful.”

Zook is proud of his band’s achievements, but he also loves to talk about the impact the marching program has had on the lives of hundreds of students who have passed through Piedmont High School.  When speaking to former band members, the constant theme heard is often how much the hard work and commitment in band prepared them for life after high school.

In this week’s Piedmont-Surrey Gazette we speak to two former band members who say their experience has prepared them for success in life.

Brandon Michael, a 2010 Piedmont graduate, said his favorite part about band was, “the feeling of being in a family.”

Megan Murphy, a 2009 Piedmont graduate, also said she enjoyed the community-feel of band and both talk about their ability to overcome challenges as a part of the state championship band program and how their success in high school is leading to success in college.

Pick up this week’s Gazette (Dec. 2) to read the complete article, Success found beyond the field.

The Pride of Piedmont, 2010 state champions.

District ready for bond push

An election to approve a new bond measure for the Piedmont Public School district is less than four weeks away and the district is gearing up to inform voters on why they feel a $19.5 million bond is necessary.

On Dec. 14, voters will be asked to approve a bond measure which would fund the construction of a new fifth- and sixth-grade school.  If approved, current bonds would be extended to cover the cost of construction and also pay off some debt on the new Northwood Elementary School.

“I think people are pretty aware of this need,” Superintendent James White said.  “We are getting ready to get out there and talk to a lot of groups about this issue.”

White said over the next few weeks he will be meeting with each school’s PTO, booster clubs and other school organizations.  White will also be addressing the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce next month in an effort to highlight the need for a new school building.

“You want to get out there and talk about it when it can be fresh on voter’s minds,” White said.

The district said growing student enrollment has made a new school building necessary.  With large numbers of students about to hit middle school age, White said the new center would relieve overcrowding at the current middle school.

Your Take: The Gazette wants to hear from you on the proposed new fifth- and sixth-grade center.  Share your opinions by leaving a comment or submitting a letter to the editor to bfelder@piedmonttoday.com

Stone Ridge teacher receives OGE grant

Annie Farris, third-grade teacher at Stone Ridge Elementary School, is one of 34 OGE Teacher Grant winners across the company’s service territory in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Staff Report

Annie Farris, third-grade teacher at Stone Ridge Elementary School, is one of 34 OGE Teacher Grant winners across the company’s service territory in Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Farris will use grant funds for resources to teach guided reading groups and literacy centers. The objectives of the “Read to Succeed” project are to provide leveled reading instruction, allowing instruction and support for strategies, skill and concepts taught in reading program. The project will incorporate some of the most current research on effective reading instruction.

OGE Energy has funded nearly 250 projects for teachers since launching its Teacher Grant Program in 2003. The program is available to public school teachers from kindergarten through 12th-grade. Applications for project grants up to $1,000 are typically available at the beginning of a calendar year for funding the next school year.

Surrey Hills gets a visitor from Germany

Courtesy Photo

Deputy Chief Rainei Linke paid a special visit to Mrs. Slavin’s third grade class at Surrey Hills recently.  He talked about the differences in law enforcement between the two countries and spoke some in German which delighted the students.  Linke was visiting the U.S. for two weeks with a group of seven other policemen from Germany.  Shown enjoying lunch with the special guest are Arcadia Officer Mighton, host, Alyssa Mighton, Haley Wolf, and Deputy Chief Linke (seated).  Also pictured are students Jade Langoc, Amaia Maxwell, Cade Parsons, Cooper Mahaffey, and Draake Rought (standing).

Two students recognized for academic achievement

Piedmont High School seniors Jamie Tate and Cody Davis were recently named semifinalists in the 2011 National Merit Scholarship Program.

Piedmont High School students Jamie Tate and Cody Davis have both been named semifinalists in the National Merit Scholarship Program and will have a chance to compete for various scholarships.

Tate and Davis earned a place among 16,000 nation-wide semifinalists by maintaining an outstanding academic record throughout high school, were recommended by school staff and received high scores on the SAT test. Both students will be submitting an essay about their participation and leadership in the school and community and will have a chance to be selected for one of three types of National Merit Scholarships next spring.

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