In 2012, Lowrey Elementary School honored three teachers in different classroom grades as Teachers of the Year: Ella Proctor, Karla Kelley and Jennifer Swafford.
A decade ago, Swafford started her career teaching math at Lowrey.
“I enjoy teaching because of the interaction I have with the students,” Swafford said. “They make my job interesting and different every day.”
Working with students has unexpected moments at times; as most people know, kids can say anything.
“I have to admit that sometimes, I learn things from them, and I never know what that might be,” she said.
A desire to take away the fear of math motivated her to want to teach the often-challenging subject.
“I became a math teacher because I wanted to make math understandable for my students,” Swafford explained. “I have always found math not to be too difficult, and I wanted to be able to pass that along to my students so they could understand it and make it as easy for them as possible.”
The extended family aspect of rural schools is a perk new teachers sometimes don’t expect.
“It is great to teach at Lowrey, because we are like a family and we work very well together,” she said.
Being selected Teacher of the Year is always a pleasant surprise.
“When I found out I was chosen as a Teacher of the Year, I was humbled and honored,” Swafford said.
She offers words of encouragement to new teachers.
“My advice for new teachers would be to have fun with what you do, because students pick up on how you feel,” she said. “If you’re having fun, so will they. I would also encourage new teachers to be diversified in what they can teach, because it never hurts to be able to teach different subjects.”
Kelley teaches third grade at Lowrey, where she’s been employed 17 years. Her first 10 years she taught at Grand View Elementary.
“I’ve always loved kids,” Kelley said. “And [I enjoy] being a part of the kids’ learning success as they grow from the beginning of school to the year to the end of the school year.”
Kelley is a graduate of Northeastern State University.
When she found out she’d been chosen as a Teacher of the Year, she was excited and honored.
“All the teachers at Lowrey work hard all year long, and I feel they all deserve to receive the award,” she said.
She really appreciates her peers.
“The faculty, staff, and support personnel are very tight-knit,” she said. “We help each other out whenever needed.”
Kelley thinks Lowrey is a great school.
“Lowrey is the perfect size [for a] school,” she said. “The classroom student ratio is perfect in size, and you have more time to work one-on-one with students.”
Proctor was unable to sit for an interview due to a death in the family.
Stevens sharing love of God by volunteering
Ben Stevens said his wife, Karrel, first signed him up to volunteer, but he continues as a way to share the love of God.
“I volunteer because I see it as a way to give back, to share your own good fortune with others, to be part of the local and world community. In short, it is sharing God’s love,” Stevens said. “God provides the love, but we humans can provide the action to spread it.”
For three years, he’s been volunteering with Feed My Sheep, the ecumenical weekly meal, and Help-In-Crisis, doing shelter minor maintenance and the Walk-A-Mile fundraiser. He also serves on various church committees, and participates in activities to support church programs, such as youth, missions and maintenance, at First United Methodist.
Local coach involved in ID process for WWII soldier
An unusual name could lead to the identification of the remains of a World War II soldier, Norman Lloyd Miller, who was killed in action more than 70 years ago in New Guinea.
Earl Miller and Jim Miller, nephews of the soldier, and other members of the Miller family in the Joplin area learned of the development a couple of days before Thanksgiving. That’s when their brother, Elzy Miller, of Tahlequah, was contacted by a federally funded search firm that was looking for surviving members of Norman Miller’s family.
Cloth diaper exchange a boon for moms
Though disposable diapers may be far more convenient, a growing number of parents these days are choosing cloth diapers not just to save money, but for the comfort of their babies.
A local mom has started a cloth diaper-lending program and Facebook support group, PoofyPantsDiaperLendingProgram. She also has an online support group called, “Poopsmiths Anonymous of Tahlequah.”
Claremore, Grove ring in the holidays with seasonal treats
As the holiday season gets into full swing, those who enjoy short road trips have plenty of options when it comes to seasonal activities.
Local artist goes digital with OU logos
A traditional artist by desire and training, Buffalo Gauge turned an eye toward the electronic future and graphic design.
With everything going digital, Gauge wanted to see how his love of painting would translate onto the screen. He was skeptical at first of the medium many people relate to as computer drawing, but soon realized his talent translated well into the digital language.
“The creative process is the same as traditional; you have to think it out or it won’t work,” Gouge said. “You have layers you have to keep in order for the image to come together.”
A project he’s tinkered with while enrolled in the Graphics Communications program at Indian Capitol Technology Center has the potential of gaining popularity and commercial success. The geometric shape of the letters on many University of Oklahoma logo designs seemed ideal for native designs.
Area cities set holiday calendars
Cherokee County boasts its share of holiday events, but for those looking to travel farther afield to enjoy music, light displays and other seasonal fare, Green Country has a packed calendar.
Thanksgiving traditions vary across the United States, and sometimes across the street. But the memories made each year come up in conversations time and again, as family and friends gather to celebrate.
Favorite foods often boast cultural family flavors, from coastal seafood to Native American roots.
Freese growing with CUMC congregation
Rudy Freese likes to try new things, and he’s willing to grow with his congregation. That’s why he enjoys being a pastor so much.
For 2-1/2 years, Freese has led the flock at Cookson United Methodist. He’s served at Quinton UMC, Canadian UMC and Leonard UMC.
“We are appointed by the bishop, but Cookson’s love for each other and acceptance of new people is a wonderful church trait,” said Freese, who holds a Master’s in Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary.
Tour of Homes brings holiday cheer
For those dreaming of a white Christmas or a dream home, inspiration will be on display next month during the American Association for University Women’s annual Tour of Homes.
Each year, hundreds of people come from Tulsa and beyond to join with locals in picking up a map and touring select homes beautifully decorated for the holidays. This will be the 32nd year for the event.
‘President Is Assassinated; Johnson Takes Leadership’
Editor’s note: This story appeared in the Nov. 28, 1963 edition of the Tahlequah Star-Citizen, which later merged with this Tahlequah Pictorial Press. The Star-Citizen was, at that time, a weekly newspaper. It and the Pictorial Press later merged to become what is now the Tahlequah Daily Press. This story is reprinted in its entirety, as it was originally published.
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