February 18-20 were the dates of the FCCLA Regional Conference, held in Galveston, where over 1500 Texas members participated in 35 competitive events. Groveton will advance to the state level in four of its five competitive teams and will compete April 7-9 in Dallas for the right to compete at Nationals held in California. Student teams representing Groveton were Kaylie Allbright and Stormy Caddenhead in Life Event Planning; Megan Gentry and Carrie Cook placed 5th in Community Service Portfolio; Kelby Stahl, Maddie Castro, and Jordan Brooks placed 4th in Service Project Display (Jr); Bryce Lewis and Hannah Blair placed 1st in Service Project Display (Sr) and Eden Dillard placed 1st in the Recycle and Redesign Competition. All teams who placed in the top 6 in Region advance to state.
"When a child aspires to expand the depth of their knowledge beyond what is required, it should be celebrated, encouraged and vigorously supported. By supporting our youth now, we plant seeds of confidence, that with time, blossom into an assorted array of flowers. Once cultivated, they create a wonderfully varied, inspiring garden of hope for our future." - Anonymous
Mrs. Alford believed for the children she parented; her students, those things they deemed unattainable for themselves. She had an unwavering faith in the gifts, dreams and ambitions of the your she encountered. She encouraged their growth in every aspect of their lives.
The Alford family is honored that the young thespians and students of the Groveton High School Theater Department established a scholarship in her honor. Our family is proud and honored to contribute to the Billie Mark Alford Memorial Scholarship.
Political science major and general business minor Ariel Traub won the 2015 College of Humanities and Social Sciences Excellence in Service Sammy Award. Traub, who grew up in Groveton, will graduate college in May 2016. Many members of Ariel's family have attended SHSU, including her mother and her two sisters, who are both now doing graduate work in Biology. In addition to having a strong familial tie to Sam, Ariel was offered the prestigious Smith-Hutson Scholarship, which has covered all of her tuition and fees.
Ariel says that Professor Mike Yawn, who introduced her to the pre-law cohort, also influenced her decision to attend Sam. Entering college, Ariel wanted to get as many experiences out of her time here as possible; Ariel explains that she knew Professor Yawn was the best avenue to make those experiences happen.
Beginning her first semester, Ariel dove into the opportunities offered at SHSU. Ariel was inducted into the Honors College, became involved in The Freshmen Leadership Program, and joined the College Republicans, even serving as the organization's Webmaster, all during her freshman year.
Throughout her subsequent years at Sam, Ariel was inducted into Alpha Lambda Delta Honors Society, served on both the Student Service Fees committee and the Campus Life Development Fund Committee, and became involved with the Center for Law, Engagement and Politics—a program for which Ariel served as President.
Involvement with the LEAP Center has allowed Ariel to participate in many special events. Ariel says one of her best experiences with LEAP was hosting the 10th Court of Appeals, which tried four cases at SHSU. During a lunch break, Ariel was able to converse with SHSU alumni, Chief Justice Tom Gray, which led to her developing a greater interest in local, state, and federal issues and politics.
An extremely heavy work-load has been Ariel's norm during her time at Sam, as she has consistently taken full course loads ranging from 12-15 hours per semester, juggled a full-time job off-campus with Park and Durham, Attorneys at Law, actively participated in student organizations, and completed volunteer work.
In addition to these responsibilities, Ariel has also completed three separate internships since beginning college. While serving as an intern for the Huntsville Main Street Program, Ariel worked many great events, such as Scare on the Square, the Christmas Fair, Main Street Music Series, Junk-A-Palooza and Fair on the Square.
Ariel's superior performance during the internship led to her being named Interim Coordinator of the Main Street Program, an honor never before bestowed on an intern. To this day, Ariel remains on the Program's Advisory Board. Ariel also interned at The Wynne Home Arts Center in Huntsville. The Wynne Home Arts Center offers art programs to the community each season, various free art galleries for the public to view, free historic tours of the Wynne Home and other art programs throughout the year.
During her time at The Wynne Home, Ariel coordinated the schedule of classes offered at the home during the summer and taught her own cooking class. Additionally, Ariel volunteered at various events at the home, including the Gingerbread House Contest, Rock 'N the Arts week-long program, and several art gallery openings.
Ariel completed her third and final internship this past spring semester for Senator Charles Schwertner's Office during the 84th Legislative Session through the LEAP Center's Austin Internship Program. As a Legislative Aide, Ariel did reception and case work, drafted external correspondence, and analyzed bills—at one point up to 35 in a day! Bill analysis, which requires critical thinking, allowed Ariel to advise the senator how to vote.
While living in Austin with two of her fellow interns, Ariel worked 40-50 hour weeks and took a full 12-hour course load. Not only did Ariel work on the assignments she was given during her internship, but she also had the opportunity to work on pushing through her own bills; Ariel was particularly interested in bills pertaining to educational policies. Additionally, Ariel staffed the Senator on the Business & Commerce, State Affairs, and Transportation committees.
As a result of her Austin internship, Ariel has recently accepted a full-time position as a Field Representative for Congressman Kevin Brady. Ariel's long-term goals include working for the federal government, either for the military focusing on veterans or for the Department of State, focusing on international relations.
This year Centerville ISD welcomed two new faculty members. Coach Kevin Parker will be teaching 7th and 10th grade history, 9th grade geography, and 12th grade government and economics. He is also the high school basketball and cross country coach.
Mr.Parker attended Groveton high school, and has been teaching and coaching for 17 years. Coach Parker attended and graduated from Texas A&M University with a bachelor's degree in History and Kinesiology, After receiving a degree from A&M, Mr.Parker attended Sam Houston State University where he graduated with a Masters degree in Educational Administration.
Our Ag Department welcomed Ray Mayo, From Lufkin Texas, Mr.Mayo is teaching many different agricultural classes this year. Mr.Mayo graduated from Texas A&M University where he received a degree in animal science, industry, and meat science. One interesting fact about Mr.Mayo; he has worn a maroon shirt for 2,920 days straight. Centerville is proud to welcome our two new faculty members.
To honor Mrs. Billie Nell Alford and to help her family know they are not alone as they grieve, it is only fitting to share some of the tidbits and memories of their mom, wife, family or friend. Please know Billie Alford made a difference. I remember the day well when it was announced, Groveton 4-H had a new leader. James Alford was named Trinity County Extension Agent. The best part, he had ties to Trinity County that ran deep. His wife, Billie, was a Mark from Nigton.
Billie AlfordYes, it was a high water day for the youth of Trinity County. That day, not only did we gain a wonderful County Agent, we got a schoolteacher and three little girls. The Alfords embraced Groveton whole-heartedly and they definitely have been a positive influence on hundreds of Trinity County 4-H and Groveton ISD students. It is with heavy hearts we now say our good byes to Mrs. Alford. She has left a most positive mark on every life she touched. We put a call out to some of Mrs. Alford's students and friends and they did not let us down. The following are some of their comments:
Tanya Facio wrote: Mrs. Alford was my 6th grade teacher, and was so nervous the first day because of the supposed rumors that she was a "really hard" teacher. Ha-ha After the first day, she became one of my favorite. She cared about her students and wanted them to be the best version of themselves. She motivated me to be a part of the U.I.L Spelling team and is one of the main reasons of why I continued to be a part of the spelling team in Jr. high and high school. She was also one of the Beta Club sponsors, which I was a part of, and I will always treasure those fun memories from Beta meetings and Beta trips with her. She pushed us to be better. I'm thankful for the teacher and person she was and for the impact she had in my life.
Rachel Merks wrote: Mrs. Alford was my 3rd grade teacher. I remember so many students being scared to have her because her voice could be so loud! But she was truly one of my favorites, probably because she never had to yell at me. I sat in the desk right in front of hers and loved to help her grade papers. Wesley Pagoda set behind me and would always get in trouble for playing with my hair.
My best memories of Mrs. Alford come from 4-H. She was always involved with the talent and skit activities. She and Mr. Alford carted Jamie and I all over Texas! I loved going places with them and feeling like part of their family.
She was always kind, right down to the end. Just this past Sunday, at 1:53 p.m. she commented on a picture of me to saw how cute it was and that she loved my baby's middle name. She ended with her signature "love you much". I'm so glad I said I love you back! Laura Worsham wrote: Mrs. Alford was my 3rd grade teacher and my 6th grade teacher. She moved from 3rd grade to 6th grade the very same year I entered 6th grade and as a child I remember thinking "oh no I have to have Mrs. Alford again!" Lol. That's because I was one of those students who thought her voice was very loud and she could be a little scary!! Looking back now she was one of the best teachers I had because she had high expectations for her students and demanded their very best. I am lucky to have had her be an influence on me in not only one but also two grades in those crucial elementary years.
It was actually Mrs. Alford's class that I was sitting in on September 11, 2001. I remember her telling us to put our things away that she had something important to tell us. She explained what had happened to our country and how devastating it was. And then she prayed. Right there in that classroom full of students we all bowed our heads as she prayed over us for our country. I'll never ever forget that day as long as I live because of Mrs. Alford.
I just talked to her a few weeks ago at the first home football game. We hugged and joked and laughed and she was the same Mrs. Alford she always was. Such an amazing lady and this is an enormous loss. Prayers for her family. She will be greatly missed. Sarah Anderson wrote: Mrs. Alford was my 6th grade English teacher she was a great teacher and what I remember the most is when someone would say ain't and she would say, "ain't is not a word." Sometimes my class would just say it just to hear her repeat it. I will miss her dearly.
Claire Hall wrote: Mrs. Alford was my first teacher when I moved to Groveton and she taught me so much more than language arts. As I'm going into my second year at Sam Houston as an education major I think of when she would stand up for her students and made sure they took something away from her class. She really cared about her job and her students and you could see it every day.
Camille Denning wrote: I was blessed to not only have her as an educator in 3rd grade but she also was my teacher again in 6th grade as well. Most people didn't know that I was also related to her as well, growing up with a family member as your teacher definitely put A LOT of pressure on me to always do my best or live in constant fear that she would tell my dad or even worse my me-maw on me, lol.
As I look back on my time with her, I never realized how critical of a role she truly played with my upbringing. The older I got the more I realized the impact she made. She always went above and beyond her call as an educator and taught me countless life lessons.
Throughout my entire college career her presence was more evident than ever. She was one of my biggest supporters, her inspirational Bible quotes she would leave on my page, truly kept me going, when I felt like giving up.
She played such a key role in molding the great minds that passed though Groveton TX education. She will never be forgotten.
Rest easy and continue to watch over us on high sweet angel. LOVE YOU MUCH.
It wasn't just her students that responded to the call. Community leaders also appreciated her and voiced their feelings. Connie Due wrote: My heart is so broken for this wonderful family. I have known them since the first day they moved to this town and it just doesn't get any better than what a family is all about when it comes to the Alford's.
Diane McCrory wrote: Prayers and sincerest condolences to James and the family at this sad and difficult time.
Betty Whittlesey wrote: I'm so very sorry to hear this. Our prayers go out to James, the girls, the grand's & other family & friends.
Jean Parker-Rasbeary wrote: Prayers for James & his family. Ms. Billie will definitely be missed...this summer she came by the football practice field every day checking to make sure Eli & Malachi were O.K....now she'll be watching from on high...RIP Ms. Billie...
Katherine Reynolds Brown wrote: What a wonderful see lady!! Her family and friends will miss her very much!! Billie was an amazing Christian lady and my prayers go out to her family!!
Carolyn Johnson wrote: Sweet and kind and lovely lady. Heart broken to hear this news. Prayers for James and the family.
Donna Martin Caddenhead wrote: Saddened to hear, prayers for her family.
Co-worker Teresa Anderson wrote: I will miss her very much! A sweet lady with such a great family! James, the girls, the grandkids, family, and friends will be in my thoughts & prayers!
Neighbor Stephen Dial wrote: R.I.P. Mrs. Alford, may you rest in peace. Praise the Lord.
Yes, Mrs. Alford will be missed. No one doubts there will be a grand homecoming one day at Heaven's gates. She was a shining example of a lady. She was classy. She was refined. She was respected. Her family will have a void in their lives. This void will slowly begin to fill with wonderful memories. Every day they will be blessed with a thought of what would momma do and they will once again hear her voice and know exactly what Billie Nell Alford would do. She would do the right thing for the right reason and base her action on the Word of God. If you don't have this assurance, of one day seeing her on the other side. May I suggest you make a quick trip and introduce yourself to Pastor Tammy Mark Brown, Mayo Baptist Church, Nigton, TX. She can help you find the Way, the Truth and the Light.
Jordyn Rogers' journal provides insight into her adventures to and around Italy
This summer, because of the support Jordyn Rogers received from friends and our community, she enjoyed the trip of a lifetime. Her appreciation to each person that helped her by purchasing raffle tickets, donating supplies and expertise to build the picnic table that was raffled and making or purchasing candles is sincere and heartfelt. Congratulations to Brandon Giacona, the winner of the picnic table! All this work was a labor of love for the Rogers.
Jordyn has worked hard to develop her softball skills and it has been a family effort. She received a scholarship upon graduation from GHS to attend Kilgore Jr. College and to play as a Kilgore Ranger! Summer is off-season but a true player never stops training. Jordyn is a member of the select team, Nitro. This team has been selected by the organization, ACIS to represent the USA in Italy for a "Good Will Tour." Introducing international tours around the world not only enriches the lives of the receiving country but also broadens the horizons of the young men and women of America that are chosen to participate. Jordyn Rogers, Class of 2014, is a team member of the East Texas Softball Team called Nitro! Twelve girls from Nitro were chosen to travel to Italy to compete with Italian Teams in softball. These girls represent Woodville, Lufkin, Woden, Garrison, Groveton, Huntington, Nacogdoches, Diboll and Cushing.
Jordyn had the foresight to keep a journal. If you have traveled, you realize days and places begin to blend together before you know it so thankfully, we can experience her trip through her eyes:
Day 1 I arrived at Academy in Lufkin at 3:45 am on Saturday July 11th to begin my journey to Italy. We headed to Houston to fly out of George Bush International Airport. Our flight departed at 8:47. We arrived in Newark, New Jersey then experienced a four-hour lay over before departing for the eight-hour flight to Rome Italy.
Day 2 We arrived in Rome at 8:47 am on Sunday morning. Italy's time is seven hours ahead of Texas. I have had 4 hours of sleep in the last 26 hours. Our tour manager, an older man from London England, said the best way to adjust is to hit the ground running and so we did. We went to Vatican City. The guide pointed out the building the Pope lives! Saint Peter's square is gorgeous! Jesus disciple Peter was crucified there. Our meals were part of the travel package. We ate at a buffet style restaurant for lunch. I had lasagna and it was very different but I enjoyed it! Finally we got to our hotel for a few hours of rest before being leaving for dinner. Dinner had three courses, pasta then meat then dessert. It was not what I was expecting but I ate it anyway. After our meal, we toured Rome and I got to walk around Piazza Navona Square. It was more beautiful at night! Time for lights out! Gotta go to sleep now!
Day 3 So I woke up at 6:45am and the day begin. We went to the 'Colosseum' first and it was pretty legit. Just thinking about the gladiators fighting exotic animals there is pretty cool. You could see the under ground cages where the different animals were kept. We went to the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately it's under construction but I still got to throw some coins:) We went to a Pantheon where kings and queens were buried. One of the queens named Pizza. By the way, real pizza here is called Pizza Margarita. We had lunch at Pantheon Square and it was pretty good. It was thin thin thin pizza! Now it's time to play ball. We played our first 2 games, which by the way, we kicked butt! The girls were so awesome and so nice however they ranged of 14 to 50 years old. They don't have select teams or high school teams, all they have are similar to our club teams who just meet up and play ball, like slow pitch teams in the U.S. However, Saturday, we play the junior Olympic team which is going to be really good! After the game we went to a pizzeria and that was good too! And now it's 11:37 pm here so. Until next time!
Day 4 Well. Today was not as great because I felt carsick. I woke up at 7 and ate breakfast with fresh pineapple and tropical juice. We were on our way to Saint Peters Square again except this time we actually went in to the church! After that church which is the biggest one in Rome we went to the Spanish steps and got to shop for a few hours. Tonight we went to a square with painters and musicians. It's the atmosphere you could imagine when you picture Italy. It's the perfect temperature with the most wonderful gelato (ice cream) and the perfect softball team, goodnight!
Day 5 Well today we woke up and hit the road. We drove from Rome to Luca You should see the mountains and the sunflower fields. When we got to Luca we played our second set of games, and of course we kicked butt! The girls were so amazing and I taught a young Italian boy how to throw a knuckle ball! We taught them all how to dance the Cupid shuffle and wobble! The dinner tonight was so good! We had a casual BBQ dinner at the softball field. It was wonderful! Today was really awesome even though I didn't see anything historic it was still great! The hotel is gorgeous and has free wifi but it's broken; and our air conditioner doesn't really work but I'm not complaining because I'm in this beautiful place and I'm just lucky to be here. I miss you all so much.
Day 6 So today we left Luca and headed to Florence. When you imagine Italy (those of you who have never been) you probably think of nothing but vineyards and wineries and castles. That's what I was expecting. When I got to Rome I was disappointed. The city was so crowded and there were no vineyards or wineries. Florence is the most beautiful place you will ever see. It's much smaller than Rome so there was more room to enjoy it. After we toured Florence we went to Tuscany! And it's even prettier! There are vineyards everywhere! We went to a mid-evil town deep in the mountains. Beautiful vineyards and so many pretty buildings and then, a torture museum! It was gruesome but awesome. Today was fun fun fun! Tomorrow we head to the Fashion Capital of the world. Milan
Day 7 Today we traveled from Luca to Milan. Milan is a more modern Italy. Like have glass buildings made in this century; however, they do have some old buildings too. The cathedral in Milan took 500 years to complete and it was worth it. We didn't tour the church but it's beautiful. And I got to shop in the fashion capital of the WORLD! I really didn't buy anything because everything was so expensive but it was still cool to walk in Gucci and Versace like I owned the place! And highlight of my day. Ready for it? I got to eat Burger King! I'm so tired it's not even funny so I'll catch you tomorrow and tell you all about how we beat the junior national team! Hopefully night y'all!
Day 8 Well today we went to a lake! This lake was right on the boarder of Switzerland. We were seriously just miles from Switzerland. We could see the Swiss Alps! The lake was huge and so pretty! It's surrounded by mountains! The water was so clear and blue and when I say it sparkled it literally sparkled. The lake bottom was made up of rocks and these rocks had bronze and silver embedded in them therefore the water had little particles of glitter just floating. It's hard to explain and no words could even describe it. Now we are on to the Olympic training field in Milan to play our last set of games. We played the best team at the field, which is about the level of a collegiate team back home and beat them 9-2! One of their girls played second base for Blinn Jr. College! How small of a world is it! The whole team was amazing. Every single girl was a great athlete and person! Today was the best day I experienced in Italy. Today was absolutely amazing. They always say, "Save the best for last," and today is my last day. Thank you Italia for making this the best and most memorable trip of my life. Ciao
The experience of a lifetime all because a little girl loved the sport of softball and her family recognized her dream and have sacrificed to help her reach for the stars!