Written by Kimberly Ferguson.

In Panola County

The Stephen F. Austin State University Twirl-O-Jacks (TOJs) have been making history in East Texas since 1956, when late band director Jimmie Hudgins coined the name and began actively recruiting twirlers in the area to learn an innovative type of dance/twirl. The most recent Panola County twirler to join the line is Bailee Woodall, who graduated from Beckville High School in 2016 and is only the seventh girl who has lived in Panola County to be selected as a TOJ in 60 years.

Jeretta Thompson

Written by Kay Hubbard.

The Definition of Leadership

A Panola County friend recently joked that she had looked up the word leadership in the dictionary, and Jeretta Thompson’s picture appeared beside it. It could also appear beside words like serving, competent, involved, loyal, supportive, busy, and a host of others.

Born in Oklahoma City, she was adopted from the Methodist Children’s Home in Bristow, Oklahoma when she was about three weeks old. “I am living proof that parents love their adopted children just like the ones they give birth to,” she says. “No child was ever more loved, cherished, and cared for by their parents than I was!”

Sherri Baker

Written by Teresa Beasley.

Fiber Art Fuels Her Creativity

The old saying about one person’s trash being another person’s treasure fits Sherri Baker to a T. “The problem that I have as an artist is that I see a use for everything and become a collector. Nothing is trash,” she says. “I save wool, silk, and cotton garments with the intent of cutting them up for weaving or rug hooking.”


Written by Gina Bradley.

The Empahasis is on Enrichment

“All our kids are gifted. Our goal is to change these kids’ lives in a positive way to help them find that gift with which every kid is born. Every day we are committed to doing just that. We want all our kids to reach their greatest potential.” Isha Brown passionately shares these thoughts about her AYEP students.

Linda Howard

Written by Kay Hubbard.

A Vintage Jewelry Artist

“I am not an artist. I can’t draw. I can’t paint. I can’t sew. I can’t quilt. I can’t crochet. I can’t knit. But because I always had this great need to do something creative and artistic, I tried it all. Finally about five years ago I found my talent. I seem to have a good eye for arranging things in artistic ways, and I found a hobby that suits that talent perfectly.” She also encourages everyone who thinks they don’t have any talent, “Don’t give up! Keep trying until you find your niche!”

Miracle of the Heart

Written by Shelbye Porter Almeida.

Indy Deason

On February 9, 2016 at Nacogdoches Medical Center, a bouncing baby girl named Indy Ross was welcomed into the Deason family’s world. Greeting her on this side of heaven were her mommy, Amanda, a nurse at Libby Elementary, and her daddy, Sam, who works for Baker Hughes. Indy also was greeted by big brothers, Gage, 13, and Jake, 10, along with three-year-old big sister Presley Rae. Everyone was happy and healthy and anxious to get their lives started with their new baby.

As scheduled, Indy went to her week-old check up with her pediatrician, Dr. Procell, and she was right on target. Everything was perfect, but in a blink of an eye the Deasons’ world changed. On February 17, 2016, Indy’s parents were at home when they noticed Baby Indy didn’t look or act right.

Maria Vaonver

Written by Kay Hubbard.

One of Carthage's Best-Kept Secrets

Born in a small town in Austria in 1935, Maria Sallaberger Vanover may be one of Carthage’s best-kept and most interesting secrets. What an amazing storehouse of fascinating life memories she is, and what a tribute to the indomitable spirit of European people who survived World War II!

They Work Hard for the Money

Written by Stephen George.


Theirs and Yours

Behind the seamless workings of our city and county governments stands a group of dedicated and hard-working women and men who strive to keep the governmental affairs of our communities running smoothly. Several years ago, Panola Crossroads ran an article that outlined some of the responsibilities and jurisdictional matters of these entities, and this updated and expanded article serves to remind us of their hard work and of some of the jurisdictional matters that the county and city employees handle.