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.
Dream, Brewdog’s to host music festivals
One sign of spring’s arrival is the scheduling of music festivals, and 10 bands will visit a Tahlequah venue May 24, the Saturday before Memorial Day.
Conference attendees get words of encouragement
Words of encouragement and door prizes were bountiful Saturday morning at the annual Zoë Institute’s Women’s Conference.
Ten women shared words of wisdom in areas from happiness to health, and 100 gifts were given out, including the grand prize of gasoline for a year.
Panelists discuss impact of Southeastern art
Until recently, most people had a certain expectation of American Indian art – and it didn’t include images familiar to people in and around Cherokee County.
“A lot of times, when people think about Native art, they immediately think of Plains art or Southwestern art,” said Roy Boney (Cherokee), Tahlequah artist and moderator of the panel discussion “Southeastern Indian Art: Building Community and Raising Awareness,” held Friday, April 11, at the NSU Symposium on the American Indian.
Boney and the other panelists are frustrated by the divide between mainstream expectations of Native American art and their need for genuine self-expression.
Dickerson believes in putting the student first
As a child growing up in Elk City, Cherokee Elementary teacher Debra Dickerson lined up the neighborhood children and animals to play school.
“I’ve been a teacher ever since I could talk. My mother always said she knew where I was because she could hear me bossing everyone,” she said.
The classroom then was a blanket tossed over limbs of her big cherry tree on Eisenhower Street. Recess was spent tree-climbing, running, riding in the bus (her red wagon) and being creative.
“Those were the days before video games and TV,” she said.
Dickerson, 2013-’14 Cherokee Elementary Teacher of the Year, believes a classroom should be a safe haven for children, because school is often the best part of their day.
Cleaning things up
Lowrey was part of the Cherokee Nation’s Career Service Center contingency of 11 volunteers. Other volunteers cleaned up trash along the roadway from the Cherokee Casino to the NSU campus.
Right to privacy leans partly on Article 9
While the other articles of the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights are straightforward – at least, enough for Americans to bicker over in court – the Ninth Amendment might cause a bit of confusion.
It reads: “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
There are no rights enumerated, and it might be difficult to argue one’s Ninth Amendment rights in court, though it has been done successfully.
The American Indian Science and Engineering Society and Native American Student Associationat Northeastern State University hosted a traditional stickball game as part of closing cultural activities during the 42nd annual Symposium on the American Indian Friday. Participants included, from left: Nathan Wolf, Disosdi Elk and Chris Smith.
City council to discuss ‘green building’
Tahlequah City Council will hold a special meeting Friday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. to discuss, among other items, applying grant money to renovate the city’s “green building” at the corner of Water and Morgan, near Norris Park.
Alcohol screening can be critical
It has been decades since Prohibition brought Americans gangsters, flappers and speakeasies, but statistics for alcohol addiction are staggering.
Millions of Americans suffer from alcohol addiction and abuse, which affects families and friends.
Today, April 10, is the annual National Alcohol Screening Day, and raising awareness through education, outreach and screening programs is the goal, according to the website at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.
Law enforcement agencies to get new facility
Area law enforcement agencies will soon have a new training facility in Cherokee County.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is building the new training room near its gun range, located north of the detention center. Sheriff Norman Fisher said tax dollars were not used for the building.
“This is something we’ve been trying to work on, and it was built with no money from the taxpayers,” said Fisher. “It was paid for with drug forfeitures and gun sales.”
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