CISD Dedicates State-of-the-Art Building

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Hambrick uncovers history of first school

After 58 years of service, the old Libby Elementary School building is history. Standing in its place is a beautiful, 101,000 square foot building that is furnished with state-of-the art technology and amenities that most schools can only long for. On Wednesday, August 22, 2012, at 10:00 am, the public is invited to attend a dedication ceremony and take a tour of the new Libby Elementary.

Superintendent of Carthage Schools, Dr. Glen Hambrick, has spent many hours researching the Lendal C. Libby family, namesakes of the elementary school. He discovered Mr. Libby was responsible for starting the first graded school in Carthage when he was 18 years old. Moving here in 1890, he took the old adage, “Go West young man,” to heart and ended up in Carthage, Panola County, Texas, with a vision to create a school.

Footprints in the Sand

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Harness dream becomes reality

Most people have read some version of the Footprints in the Sand poem. The words are very moving. Bob Harness read it for the first time on the back of a program while attending a local funeral. He was intrigued by it, took it home to his studio to sketch and also make a three-dimensional model. The year was 2008. A couple years passed when friends brought Dr. Kirby Hill to see Harness’s sculpture collection. “He noticed the 3-D model and liked it,” recalled Harness. “He looked at other things I’d made, but came back to the model and said, ‘This is so beautiful, it has to be built.’

Passion for News

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Leads Holland to Internship

It’s a likely chance that one day you’ll turn on your television to watch the national news and see Blake Holland as a news correspondent. He’s known he wanted to be in broadcast journalism since he was nine.  His mother, Lorie Letter, remembers, “Any time a siren would go off, I don’t care if I was in hair rollers and no makeup, we had to go out in the car and get pictures. He’d come back and write his own story about what happened. We’ve been to wrecks, to fires, and we’ve even been told to get off the scene. We’ve been doing this ever since he was in Brenda Giles’ 4th grade class. He loves it.”

Beckville High School

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Students enjoying new addition to school

As of last spring, high school students at Beckville have been enjoying a new addition to their school. A $6 million bond allowed the district to add an academic building with 15 classrooms, 3 science labs, a new office suite, and a large commons area. Superintendent Devan Tate says, “We’ve got a lot of nice facilities in Beckville, but the high school building was 40 years old. At the time, they were trying to build as efficiently and inexpensively as possible. With the way we teach our kids and the technology-based curriculum we use, that old building was not equipped for all the networking we need.

All-Star Lineup

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Country Music Weekend

The third weekend in August brings Country Music to the forefront in Carthage, Texas. Beginning Friday, August 17, with the John Ritter Tribute Showcase, 30 finalists will vie for the chance to be a part of the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame “Texas Tour.” Emcee for the event is 2009 Hall of Fame Inductee and Panola County native, Linda Davis. Last year’s winner, Holly Tucker, will perform on stage as well as winners from previous years. Tommie Ritter Smith says, “This year’s talent is the best we’ve ever had. It’ll be hard for the judges to pick a winner.” The Showcase begins at 7:00pm at the Carthage Civic Center. Admission is $15.

Front Porch Gospel Singing

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Music plays a huge role in Ortigo family

It all started on Robert Ortigo’s 50th birthday. When asked how he wanted to celebrate, he told his family, “Let’s have a big singin’ out there on the porch.” And that’s what they did. Grandparents, kids, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends all gathered to wish Robert happy birthday and to spend the afternoon playing and singing ‘good ole Southern Gospel music.’ It was such a fun event, the decision was made to do it again.  Now in its fourth year, close to 400 people come to enjoy the music and the fellowship.

Carthage Music Club

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Celebrates 75th Anniversary

In September the Carthage Music Club will celebrate its 75th anniversary. The public is invited to attend a “Celebration Event” at 2:00pm on Sunday, September 30, at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Charles Reid, son of Music Club member Carolyn Reid, will perform at the event. “He is a wonderful tenor,” states Nancy Langford, “who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera and has recently returned from performing at Theater Hagen in Germany.”

Turn Your Radio On

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Old-fashioned Gaither-type Singing features local artists

If you like good ole Southern Gospel music, then mark your calendar for Sunday, August 5, at 6:00 pm, for an event you won’t want to miss. Held at the Q.M. Martin Auditorium on the Panola College campus, Turn Your Radio On is a gospel concert featuring local artists from various churches in the area. Music Ministers Eric Lawrence of Central Baptist Church and David Yarbrough of First Baptist Church have been organizing and getting people together to form a large choir that will sing such songs as Marching to Zion, I Stand Upon the Rock, God Says You’re Gonna Make it, and Ten Thousand Years. Throughout the evening, ensembles from the different churches will perform, plus the congregation will sing popular selections from the “Heavenly Highway Hymnal.”

Carthage Civic Center

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Exceeds expectations for use

According to Charles Thomas, head of the Carthage Economic Development Corporation, plans are being made to add additional meeting rooms to the existing Civic Center. “The original building is ideal for larger functions,” says Thomas, “but it is not feasible to rent for meetings on a smaller scale. We had always said we were going to build some rooms for our local citizens to use. These new rooms will allow us to provide meeting space for the civic organizations, oil companies, churches and such.” The additions will include an exclusive conference room that was paid for with private funds, plus a larger conference room that has the capability of being divided into two separate meeting rooms. Estimated cost of the new construction is expected to be around $600,000. “Mrs. Frances Ross generously gave us $150,000, and we appreciate it very much,” continues Thomas, “The conference room will be named in honor of her family.” Completion date is expected to be May, 2013.

Gary ISD

Written by Dr. Richard Ballenger.

Starts the year with administrative changes

The Gary ISD is expecting a great year for the 2012-2013 school year. The administration of the district has changed from last year. Dr. Richard W. Ballenger has been designated as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum, Instruction, and Counseling. Mr. Tony Wood is the new secondary principal for grades 7-12 along with his duties as Athletic Director. Mrs. Elizabeth Ballenger shall be serving as principal of the elementary school, grade PK-6.

Panola County History

Written by Teresa Dennard.

Comes to life

The Old Jail Museum is a very interesting place to visit. Built in 1891, it’s the oldest building in Carthage. Once used by twelve different sheriffs, the upstairs of the building now houses the original jail cells plus collections from many areas of Panola County history. When touring the second floor, one finds a beautiful collection of drawings by Q.M. Martin, military memorabilia, displays reflecting the life of early settlers in Panola County and much, much more.

The downstairs area houses the Leila Belle LaGrone Family Research Center. Just about anything and everything that has to do with researching family history in Panola County can be found in this small, three-room area.