The first day of June is the start of the hurricane season. Louisiana has had its share of tropical storms and hurricanes over the years. Last year we had two hurricanes come through our state. Already this year the US has had to deal with one tropical storm. It missed Louisiana and several local farmers say we could have used the rain.
Everyone remembers the disastrous Hurricane Katrina that hit the state on August 29th, 2005. That was nearly thirteen years ago however most of us remember the path of flooding and destruction Katrina left in her wake.
In 2017 we experienced Hurricane Harvey in August and Hurricane Nate in October. Fortunately neither packed the knock-out punch of Katrina. Here in our parish the effects were minimal last year. Over the past decade, the biggest months for hurricanes in Louisiana are August and September. They have occurred as early as June and as late as November.
State and local governmental bodies are making plans for dealing with storms should one come our way. It might be a good time for you to get out your family emergency plan and revise it.
It is time to register your children for the Red River Parish Library’s Summer Reading Program. It is open to all children in this area. And there is no cost to participate.
Each child will receive a Reading Record to keep up with all of the books read over the summer. Reading requirements are:
Children up to 8 years old read 30 books. Reading with grown-ups counts.
Children 9 to 13 years old will read 20 books.
And Children 14 years and older will read 10 books.
Young readers who complete the required number of books will be invited to the End-of-Summer celebration at the Library.
The library features special guests on Mondays and Games or Crafts on Thursdays this summer. For more information, come by the library or phone 932-5614. Check out the library’s Facebook and website http://www.redriverlibrary.org.
There is something to do in Red River Parish this summer. Parents, when your child says “I’m bored! There is nothing to do!” take them to the library on Monday afternoon.
The Red River Parish Library has scheduled entertaining, informing and intriguing guests for this summer. Their Monday programs begin next Monday, June 4th. Storyteller Sylvia Davis has some wonderful tales to hold the youngster’s attention. Davis was a featured guest last summer. She was invited back by popular demand.
Monday events new to the schedule this year include Jubilee Zoo on June 18th, The Red River High Band on July 9th and The Sheriff’s Department K-9 Officers on July 23rd.
The library has also scheduled a return of several very popular acts from last year. The complete list of dates and guests is at the bottom of this article. Print it and put it on the fridge!
Last Sunday Hickory Grove Baptist Church honored its member of the graduating class of 2018. They celebrated with Sierra Ochoa the successful conclusion of her high school career.
In addition to obtaining an outstanding record as a student, Ochoa excelled playing four years on the Red River Lady Bulldogs Softball Team. She also excelled on the soccer field as a member of the Bulldog Soccer Team.
In the photo, Ochoa is shows receiving her Senior Day awards at the conclusion of the Lady Bulldogs home softball schedule.
Hickory Grove Baptist Church invites you to Vacation Bible School Monday, June 11th thru Friday, June 15th from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. There will be a program for children Pre-K through Grade 12. Pre-K through Grades 6 will rotate through an exciting night of fun, crafts, bible stories and more. Teenagers (Grades 7 – 12) experience Bible study and special activities planned just for them. Hickory Grove Baptist Church said, “Come join us as we experience the excitement of learning how each of us with Created by God for His Purpose.”
The Red River Waterway Commission posted that area college fishing teams on the Red River this week include anglers from LSUS, La Tech and ULM. The commission said, “We are proud to have 182 College Fishing teams on the Red River this week in pursuit of the FLW YETI COLLEGE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. Good Luck to all!”
The Black Heritage Gallery of Lake Charles will host an unveiling reception for the series of oil paintings by Artist Gilbert D. Fletcher entitled, “Documenting the Cane River Creole Legacy.” Fletcher lives and works in New York. The exhibit is on loan from the Northwestern State University Creole Heritage Center. The presentation will be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 1 at the Central School Arts and Humanities Center located at 809 Kirby Street, Suite 2017. The public is invited to attend and meet the artist during this event.
Will the application for a new charter school be approved by the Red River Parish School Board? The board has called a special meeting to take up the matter. It will be Monday, June 4th at 6:30 in the school Administration Building on Alonzo Street. This meeting is open to the public.
This is a reminder to send articles and pictures of interest to The Journal. Keep us informed of your church and family activities. Email them to TheRRJournal@gmail.com
Red River Registrar of Voters Mary Jones told The Journal the Annual Canvass of Addresses and check of Voter Registration is now being performed. Jones said, “We do this every year. It is being done in May and June. The Louisiana Secretary of State Office checks addresses across the state.
You will be mailed a post card to your home address on record at the Registrar’s office. Jones asks voters to please complete, sign, and return these Address Confirmation Cards to update your voter registration. If you received a card and need assistance, please call 318-932-5027.
You can register to vote or make changes to your registration at GEAUXVOTE.COM and click on “Online Voter Registration” button to the left side of the screen. Or you can send an email to the local Registrar’s office. The email address is email@example.com.
There are nine new mentors joining the ranks of trained teacher mentors in the parish. They are attending three days of training and the state teacher convention in Baton Rouge beginning today (May 30th).
The new mentors met recently with those already trained in the parish. Several gave their thoughts on the teacher mentor program. Erica Bonner said, “I know how stressful being a new teacher is. A mentor is just being available to them.”
Patience Danzy said, “Seeing what new teachers bring in will help me be a better teacher.” Danzy is also recruiting high school seniors to become teachers.
Another new mentor, Intha Fields said, “I hate to see new teachers quit. I have sympathy because I was there once. Tell them don’t quit, it will be so good.”
The group of new mentors currently teaches in the parish schools. They are Jamie (Missy) Antilley, Erica Bonner, Patience Danzy, Intha Fields, Yasmine Jason, Peggy Key, Sherry Pickett, Brian Ross and Rachael Williamson. These nine join the ranks of those mentors who are currently serving in the public school system. They are Nicole Bailey, Ashley Dees, Ellie Drew, Darlene Martin, Samantha Sullivan, and Kenyotta Williams.
The coordinator of the program, Rene Hester, told the new mentors, “I want you to feel that you are a part of something big, part of making a difference. You are brave for stepping out and you are brave for doing this.” Hester told the group to take good notes at the state teacher summit. “We’ll all get together to debrief and share what we learned,” added Hester.
New mentor Missy Antilley summed it up, “I had a good one. I hate to see new, good teachers fail, and I want to help.”
You’re in luck because Ivan Smith Furniture’s warehouse is filled to capacity. That means they’re holding their annual Summer Warehouse Sale Saturday, June 2 from 9 am – 2 pm.
The sale includes a large selection of hundreds of items to choose from including:
discontinued merchandise floor models with small imperfections Lightly used furniture Accessories Odd occasional tables and ottomans Sleeper sofas Appliances Queen size mattress floor model sets and previous year models
The best part is all these items are seriously marked down. We’re talking below cost prices!
“This is a popular event, and that means there will be a line at the door when the sale starts,” said Dane Terrell. “If you see a specific item you want, make sure to get to the store early.”
Motion Sectional in Dark Brown Leather
Dual recliners and a sleeper sofa
Sale Price: $500
Dining Room Table and Six Chairs
Magnolia Home Line by Joanna Gaines
Regular Price: $2,000 – Sale Price: $500
Large items purchased during the sale will not be loaded out until after the conclusion of the sale for the safety of everyone in the store. Customers will be asked to return to the store between 2-5 pm or schedule a pick up time for a later date.
Once room is made in the warehouse, Ivan Smith will have room for a delivery its currently waiting on, full of the newest sets including:
2 New Bedroom Sets A Whole New Line Of Temper-Pedic Mattress Sets 10 New Living Room Sets
Ivan Smith offers the latest in home furnishings, accessories, bedding, and appliances.
Ivan Smith Furniture – Natchitoches
Home town faces with big store buying power.
936 Keyser Avenue
Quality work for your construction projects is now available in Red River Parish from Brown Home Improvements. Owner Peter Brown said, “We have been in the home improvement business for over 32 years now. I have owned and operated my current business for over 10 years.
“We specialize in Decks, porches, screen rooms, wheel chair ramps, patio covers, vinyl siding, replacement windows, fences, painting, carpentry repairs and much, MUCH, more… We are licensed and insured home improvement contractors.
“Whether you need a new screen porch to keep the bugs out, a deck for summer bar-b-ques, or a carport cover to keep you car out of the sun with a walkway to your door, we can custom design and build one to fit your home improvement needs.
“If you need a chain link fence for your pets or would like a private back yard experience, we can build a 6’ wooden fence. Metal frame gates and posts insure that your fence won’t sag or warp. High quality hardware will keep your yard secure.
“We can build a screened porch to keep the bugs off of you. Our screen rooms can be free standing or attached to your home. We feature steel security screen doors that lock and will provide years of service. Our screen porches are built with treated wood framing, fiberglass bug screens and insulated metal roofing for comfort and low maintenance.
“Custom built insulated replacement windows can be easily installed in your existing window openings with minimal expense. You can remove your old worn out windows and replace them with new insulated replacement windows that do not require changing your window frames and trim. Often they can be done in a day. Insulated replacement windows have double pane, low-e glass, double locks and new screens. They are available in many styles and colors. For security and insulation, nothing beats new insulated windows.
“We have built wheel chair ramps on mobile homes, houses and commercial buildings. It is important to have the right slope and secure handrails to ensure a safe entry and exit. We know how to build a ramp that will be safe and last for many years to come. We can pour a concrete landing at the bottom of the ramp to form a smooth transition from the ground to the ramp and build an upper landing to allow easier entry into the door. Our ramps are custom built to ADA specifications. We offer free evaluations and quotes for your project.
“Vinyl siding may be the answer to your home improvement needs. No more painting and it looks so clean and new. Insulation can be installed behind the siding to tighten up those drafty walls. Available in many colors and styles that one should be just right for your home. We can even install siding on the eaves and trim. Make your home look new again with vinyl siding and trim!
“Some times Mother Nature can deliver a nasty blow to your home. If you need a carpenter to fix some storm damage, call on us. We have carpentry and painting services to get your home back to it’s old self again. We can work with your insurance too.
Brown said, “Room additions and remodeling services are also available.” Call them for an estimate on your project. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, visit their website: BrownHomeImprovements.com or Phone: 318-208-5916
Red River 4-H members have actively engaged in and gained MASTRY and knowledge of the focus on healthy living-physical health & fitness. “Up to the Challenge” encouraged youth to strive for overall health and well-being, including physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity thru a series of monthly lessons at 4-H club meetings.
Flexibility is Fabulous was to learn about stretching for overall fitness and health and to learn about Yoga activities. Get in the Movement Groove to explore benefits of exercise, identify why exercise/physical activity is important, share activities with friends/families, understand the 3 types of physical activity, learn about warm-up/cool-down, cooperative physical activity.
In the Beat- The Heartbeat we learned to understand the difference between aerobic and non-aerobic activities, calculate heart rate before, during, & after exercise, participate in warm-up/aerobic/cool-down activities.
Muscle Mania– Move It or Lose It we learned to understand the relationship between strong bones, muscles and exercise, warm-up activity, strengthening activity, cool down activity.
Do You See What I See? We recognize people come in all shapes & sizes, understand people of different weights & sizes can be healthy, learn people can be too thin or too heavy for good health, culture and family can be an important determinant for size, understand that images we see in magazines, movies and TV are not always healthy.
The Truth about Vitamins, Steroids & Supplements we learned that muscles are best developed by exercise & good nutrition, understand that we get all vitamins and minerals needed from a healthy diet. I learned in this lesson that steroids are readily available in the Coushatta area. At least 10 youth raised their hand that they knew someone who sold steroids or could get them. My original goal was to focus on YOGA movements only.
Fun Day is our way of celebrating what we learned in our monthly meetings.
There were two members of Coushatta’s First Methodist Church who are graduates this year. One graduated from Red River High School. The other graduated from Northwestern State University.
The graduates were honored during regular Sunday morning worship. Afterward they joined members of the congregation for lunch in the fellowship hall.
Kaylee Antilley graduated at the top of her class at Red River High School. She was one of two co-salutatorians. Antilley was also a member of the Lady Bulldog Basketball team. Antilley said she plans to attend Northwestern State University to further her education.
The other graduate is Ethan Squires. On May 11, 2018, John Ethan Squires graduated from NSU with a Bachelors of Arts degree. His ambitions are to Teach English and Social Studies in the High School grades as well as coach. Ethan is a product of Red River High School and was one of the first students to complete both the TOPs scholarship curriculum and an NCCER accreditation.
2017-18 was a great year for athletics in Red River Parish. Football and Basketball teams from both high schools were victorious. The Red River High basketball teams were honored this month by the school board.
Red River boys and girls basketball teams both had impressive records. Both won district honors. And both advanced to the semi-finals of their state playoffs.
The School Board hosted a reception and award presentation for the players and coaches at their meeting this month. Coach Keith Johnson and his boys team were presented certificates. Then Coach Missy Antilley and her girls team were presented their certificates.
Two students from Coushatta have been inducted into Phi Kappa Phi at NSU. It is
the nation’s oldest, most selective and most prestigious all-discipline honors society. The students are Sydney Anderson and W. Tanner Lee.
Selection criteria for Phi Kappa Phi are based on high academic standards. Membership is open to the top 7.5 percent of second term juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students, as well as faculty and professional staff who achieved scholarly distinction.
We are beginning a new month. For June, here are the dates and times of the public meetings you may be interested in:
June 4th is the regular meeting of the Red River Parish Police Jury. They meet on the third floor of the courthouse at 6:00 pm.
Also June 4th is a special called meeting of the Red River Parish School Board. This meeting will consider an application for a new Charter School in the parish. For more details on the Charter School please The Journal’s issue of May 23rd.
Monday, June 11th is the regular monthly meeting of the school board at 6:30 pm in the school Administration Building on Alonzo Street.
And Tuesday, June 12th is the monthly meeting of the Coushatta Town Council. It is at 5:30 pm at Town Hall.
Eleven student participants in Red River 4-H will be going to Baton Rouge next month to take part in 4-H University. 4-H Extension Agent Terry Foster said, “This year marks the 106th annual celebration and will be host to both new and improved contests. In prior years the event was known as ‘Short Course’ however it has been expanded to cover a broad spectrum of interests.”
Reminder: Red River Industries is closed for vacation this week. They will re-open next week for ironing and baked goods.
The class of 2018 at Red River High is making their way in the world. Their high school career ended Tuesday night with commencement services.
Most of the awards the graduates received were presented in a special celebration last week, however Counselor Kyle Wren recognized students getting scholarships and the major awards. The change in the format of the ceremony was to save time at graduation and to give more recognition to more students at the special ceremony.
Red River Principal J.C. Dickey told the graduates, “You bring your families nothing but honor.” He had praise for their attitude and character displayed during their senior year. This was Dickey’s first year as principal and he recalled his first encounters with the top graduates.
There were co-Salutatorians this year. Kaylee Antilley made her remarks first. She said, “We owe a huge debt to the ones who helped us. Our teachers explained knowledge of the subjects to us and provided extra help when we needed it.” Antilley added, “You demanded excellence. You set the bar high and made us love up to it.” She also thanked her coaches for making the experience more about classwork than just athletics.
In her Salutatory Comments Lazaria Clark termed high school “a wonderful journey.” She says teachers spent their time to fulfill a commitment to our lives. Clark said, “Our eyes were opened to see people as they really are.” She referred to Jeremiah 29:11 and added, “We have absolutely nothing to worry about, God has written our stories. But we need to write more chapters. Don’t leave any page blank.”
Adriana Bradley gave the Valedictory Comments. She said there were some distractors, “But we proved those who said no were wrong. We can say we completed high school.” Bradley complimented her classmates when she said, “You had to go twelve years to get to graduation, but we pushed through. We had to go through the bad to get to the good.” And Bradley added, “Always keep trying. Make memories and live life with no regrets. Leave a mark like no other.”
The highlight of the evening was Principal Dickey and Vice Principal Tiffany Rock calling each graduate to the stage as Superintendent Alison Hughes presented him or her their diploma. Dickey certified the grads had completed all requirements for a diploma. And Hughes declared, members of the class of 2018 are now graduates of Red River High School. Move your tassels from right to left.”
Following the ceremony there were congratulations from friends and family members. And the class moved to a vacant spot on the field to throw their caps into the air to the cheers of everyone in the audience.
It is a tradition that goes back at least to 2002 when Red River Elementary School opened. Teachers and staff wish the students a great summer by waving goodbye on the last day of school.
On Wednesday in 80+-degree weather they did it again.
About 3:00 pm the busses lined up on both sides of the elementary school. Students were dismissed from class for the summer. They boarded the busses for the last ride until next year.
At departure, the busses blew their horns and left the school in a long column with the deputy sheriff stopping traffic on Ashland Road. Along the driveway out of the school, Assistant Principal Danny Reister and the teachers and staffers waved and shouted goodbye to the students. And the kids waved back.
Look at the shirt being work by Christy Suggs. She wasn’t the only one to a big send-off. This was to the parents. Her message…mom and dad, you’ve got this one for a while.
Many soldiers’ graves in our parish are decorated this weekend with American flags. They were put out this week by members of the local Post and Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
Representatives of the VFW and the Springville Cemetery Board met Wednesday morning and put out flags on vets graves. Several hundred flags were put out at both Springville Cemeteries and Hand Cemetery so they would be flying over the Memorial Day weekend.
A Walk through any cemetery will reveal that men and women who served their country are resting there. At Springville the Journal discovered a row of six government supplied tombstones. They are the graves of Civil War soldiers from Ohio, New York, Connecticut and Indiana. The six all died during September, October and November in 1875. There is no indication of how or why they found their final rest at Springville.
Also at Springville is the grave marker for Samuel Green Born who served with the CSA from Tennessee. Born died in 1915.
The most recent veterans to be interred at Springville are Henry Bethard III and Johnny Duco.
Terry and John Paul of CBS Home Express, the local Ace Hardware affiliate, donated flags for the graves. Ace Hardware gave flags to VFW Posts across the country to use at Memorial Day.
Here is a bit of the history of Memorial Day from the History Channel website.
Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War and became an official federal holiday in 1971.
The Civil War, which ended in the spring of 1865, claimed more lives than any conflict in U.S. history and required the establishment of the country’s first national cemeteries.
By the late 1860s, Americans in various towns and cities had begun holding springtime tributes to these countless fallen soldiers, decorating their graves with flowers and reciting prayers. It is unclear where exactly this tradition originated; numerous different communities may have independently initiated the memorial gatherings. Nevertheless, in 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day.
On May 5, 1868, General John A. Logan, leader of an organization for Northern Civil War veterans, called for a nationwide day of remembrance later that month. “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land,” he proclaimed.
The date of Decoration Day, as he called it, was chosen because it wasn’t the anniversary of any particular battle. On the first Decoration Day, General James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, and 5,000 participants decorated the graves of the 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried there.
The Journal hopes this Memorial Day Weekend you and your family will take time to visit the final resting place of American soldiers, especially if you have a veteran in your family. There are many cemeteries large and small in Red River Parish.
The clients of Red River Industries were treated to a hamburger lunch with all the trimmings at Grand Bayou Resort on Tuesday. Eletha Seabaugh is the Director and she arranged for their vacation send-off celebration. About 25 clients attended the send-off.
Seabaugh told The Journal that everyone had worked really hard all year so it is time for a break. She said, “We’re all tired and need a break. So we are closing down for a week so everyone can go on vacation.”
Red River Industries will close today (May 25th) for a week. They will reopen on Monday June 4th. “When they come back they will be refreshed and ready to get back to work,” said Seabaugh.
Red River Industries bakes the most delicious cakes and cookies for any occasion. They do ironing and Red River Industries provides cleaning services. For information call 318-932-6520.
The Red River Council on Aging is making plans for the programs they will offer in coming years. They are asking the community for input. If you have not filled out a survey form, they are available at the COA.
Director Liz Cannon said, “We are planning for programs over the next four years. Anyone can participate. You do not have to be a member of the Council on Aging and you don’t have to be over 60 years old.” Cannon said they just want everyone’s input.
The survey questions are designed to determine areas of daily life with which people need assistance. Topics covered include housing and household upkeep and operating expenses, transportation, and help with housekeeping and medical care. The COA survey wants to know about the need for caregivers, access to medical services and insurance.
Other items on the survey concern the costs of medical services including prescriptions. There is room for responses to questions of a person’s ability to pay for the services they anticipate needing.
The Council on Aging provides many services to senior citizens in Red River Parish. The survey will be valuable input about which services to add, curtail or expand over the next four years. The deadline to get your completed survey to the council office is May 31st.
Three graduating seniors from Red River High could be preparing your gourmet meal at a fine restaurant in the near future. They are participants in the program offered by Wanda Lemoine as part of their high school experience. Here is Lemoine’s report on this year’s graduates:
ProStart is nationwide, two-year program for high school students that develops the best and brightest into tomorrow’s industry leaders. From culinary techniques to management skills, Prostart curriculum provides real-world educational opportunities and builds practical skills and a foundation that will last a lifetime. By uniting the classroom and industry, Prostart offers students a platform to discover new interests and talents and opens doors for fulfilling careers. This happens through a curriculum that teaches all facets of the restaurant and foodservice industry, inspires students to succeed and sets a high standard of excellence for students and industry. With national and local support from industry members, educators, the National Restaurant Association Educational Foundation and state restaurant associations, Prostart reaches students in 49 states. To receive the National Restaurant Certificate of Achievement these exceptional Prostart students must pass 3 national exams with a score higher than 75%, earn 52 of the 75 culinary observable/employment skills, and work over 400 culinary hours outside the classroom kitchen. This is why Prostart is a two-year commitment that students undertake to accomplish their COA.
We recognize a group of extraordinary individuals….each of who has contributed in some significant way to Red River High school’s educational mission. This celebration is the chance to experience some of the fruits of our student’s’ scholarly and creative activity, and learn more from our students themselves about the process leading up to it.
Kaylee Antilley is a very responsible, motivated and confident student. She comes to school every day prepared and ready to learn. Kaylee is also a model student who sets a positive example for her peers. She never says no when ask to help. Her hard work ethic and focus on doing the right thing is an inspiration to her classmates, Kaylee is an A student and currently holds a 3.93 GPA… She never gives up, which is such a great quality to have. In addition to keeping her grades at an exceptional level, Kaylee participates in many clubs/sports and holds a part-time job. A college bound Kaylee is headed in a direction where she will be successful, prominent and an asset to the community.
Bobby White has made an awesome change in attitude towards school since his freshman year. He comes to school on time with a smile and he is excited to learn and improve his culinary skills. I am very proud of his hard work and dedication in my classroom. In addition to keeping up his grades, Bobby stays busy playing the trumpet in the school band. Bobby also holds a job outside of school and works close to full time hours each week. As a senior, his life and school experiences have been useful tools for him to share with other culinary students….He is a wonderful, positive person for our Prostart program to have as a resource. We know that Bobby will be an asset to where ever he decides to go to college.
La’Dashia Gant is such an amazing student to have in class. She is one of the hardest workers I have ever had in class. During each catering job she is always arriving early and staying late to make sure everything is completely done. La’Dashia is a student who perseveres; she never gives up—always trying hard to reach her goal. During the start of her senior year when La’Dashia counted her hours and realized she was short, she took it upon herself to volunteer in a kitchen at the local nursing home to earn the hours needed for her COA. In whatever career she chooses she will be a success.
The photo accompanying this article shows Antilley, Grant, and White on a field trip the Pro Start program took to great restaurants in Shreveport. Also pictured are Celena Hardy and Charli Williams posing in front of la Madeleine’s French Café.
The Cheer and Dance 2018 Summer Camp is May 30th through June 1st at Red River High School. There will be sessions on cheerleader training and dance training. This 3-day commuter camp will be held from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm each day.
Two students from Coushatta have been inducted into Northwestern State University’s chapter of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. It is the nation’s oldest, most selective and most prestigious all-discipline honor society. Selection criteria for Phi Kappa Phi are based on high academic standard. Membership is open to the top 7.5 percent of second term juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students, as well as faculty and professional staff who achieved scholarly distinction. New members from Coushatta are Sydney Anderson and W. Tanner Lee.
The LA 515 Bridge over Coushatta Bayou will undergo repairs beginning Tuesday, May 29th. The state transportation department estimates the bridge will be closed about 13 days for piling repair. This will result in LA 515 being closed. Motorists are advised to use LA 514 and US 71 as alternate routes.
If you go by the high school campus you will notice that work is underway on changes that have to be in place by start of the school August 7th. The 6th grade portable buildings are being relocated behind the Junior High and Cafeteria buildings. Other changes are underway and other programs are finding new homes for the next school year. It is all to prepare the way for new construction on the high school campus.
Your property taxes will increase next year due to the $29,000,000 bond issue approved by voters over a year ago. The school board has set the millage rates for the 2018 tax year. Finance Director David Jones recommended the board accept the same rate as last year for most tax categories. However the new bond issue rate was set at 9.6 mills. The rate on the bonds that expired this year was 2.25 mills.
Riverdale Academy held its commencement ceremony last week. The graduates heard inspiring thoughts from classmates and school administrators. And they passed the torch on to the Junior Class.
The Devotional speaker was Bro. William Hall of Abundant Life Worship Center in Coushatta. Hall summarized what was on the graduates mind when he said, “Will the old people stop talking so I can get my diploma.” Hall promised to be brief. Hall talked about the super power each graduate has. He called it “the power to decide your life for yourself, the power of free will, the power of choice.”
Hall spoke of the greatness inside of each one, “I believe there is greatness planted by God in you. The tragedy is that some will decide there is no greatness. That your situation is what it will be.” Hall added, “Each of you decide I am going to produce something that is great.”
The Salutatory Address was by Jake LeGrande. He said, “I am calling this The Great Escape. If you work hard enough and eventually figure it out. I am not talking about breaking out of prison, but escaping into the real world.” He thanked the school for his education. “I have learned so many life lessons from Riverdale Academy. I will continue to use them along my way.”
Co-Valedictorians for 2018 are Madelyne Greer and Nicole Williams. They spoke of making friends at Riverdale. Greer said, “Riverdale became my home away from home. You provided family I never knew I needed.”
Williams thanked her parents, “My Father always pushed me. My Mother showed me a lot. My church family helped me know Christ.” Then speaking to the Junior Class, Williams said, “You are the people the underclassmen will look up to.” And Williams encouraged them to provide the good image.
Riverdale’s Honor Graduates for 2018 are Madison Nicole Aleander, Shealy Grace Almond, Brandon Tyler Gay, Madelynne Marie Greer, Allen Michael Jones, Benjamin Jacob LeGrande, Kamden Lane Messick, Reagan Tyler Prosperie, Jamie Nicole Swayze, and Carmine Nicole Williams. Other graduates are Josey Elizabeth Cobb, Jered Zakree Cook, Payton Michael Thornton, and Ryan Matthew Tomerlin.
The senior class motto is “If you do not think about the future, you cannot have one.” From John Galsworthy.
A new charter school has been proposed to operate in Red River Parish. It would be under the direction of Crystal Cummins. This school year Cummins operated a home school co-op called Catfish Bend Academy out of her home on the Catfish Bend Road in south Red River Parish.
The news release from the group said the group “has several board members, and will be looking for more board members. At present, board members are: Hardrick Rivers, Mary Adkins, PhD; Katie Murray, and Debbie Williams.
School Director Cummins (pictured above) told The Journal they made application to the Red River Parish School Board recently. Cummins says they have been notified by the school board that a third party reviewed their application and recommended the board deny it.
The school board, at the May meeting announced a special called meeting will be held Monday, June 4th at the board office. Superintendent Alison Hughes confirmed the purpose of the meeting was to consider a charter school application. Cummins says she has not been informed by the board that the meeting would be held June 4th.
Here is the media release issued this past weekend by the charter school group.
Advantage Charter Academy has applied to the Red River School Board to open a K – 8 Charter School in Red River Parish. If the Red River School Board approves the Charter School, this means that families in Red River Parish could soon have another public school option. The charter school would be open to all students in the parish from grades K – 8 and would be funded by state and local sources, which means families would not need to contribute any tuition. In the event that more students want to attend than the school has seats available, enrollment will be decided via a public lottery. There will be no special qualifications necessary to apply.
According to Crystal Cummins, the Advantage Charter Academy school director, opening a charter school in Red River Parish would be “An incredible opportunity to greatly increase the educational opportunities for students of the parish.” Currently, a number of local children attend public schools out of the parish, attend private school, or elect to homeschool. Mrs. Cummins hopes an alternate, public school option in Coushatta would draw many of these families back into the district. She also believes school choice will empower families currently in the district to become more involved in the school system and may even help bolster the local economy.
Advantage Charter Academy will use a different approach than the current public schools by utilizing a Montessori – style education methodology which is characterized by multi-age classrooms, hands-on experiential learning, and individualized instruction. Montessori based instruction helps students understand concrete concepts using specially selected tools and manipulatives. This methodology helps students understand more complex, abstract concepts. In Montessori classrooms, students seldom sit at a desk and passively listen to a teacher, rather students take an active role in their learning and exercise personal responsibility in selecting jobs (specific learning tasks) to do throughout the school day and are afforded a great deal of flexibility to move about the classroom. Montessori classrooms have low student to teacher ratios, and students are encouraged to cooperate together, think critically, and solve problems.
Traci Schmidley, who currently uses Montessori instruction in her home and will teach at Advantage Charter Academy, has seen the tremendous success of her own children and students who use the Montessori curriculum. Many of her students are working multiple grade levels ahead of their peers who attend traditional schools. According to Mrs. Schmidley, “The Montessori method is not just about achieving high performance standards but is also about teaching our children to love the process of learning. The Montessori materials make concepts come alive and students can immediately touch and see the tangible results of their efforts.”
Charter schools that are authorized by the local school board, are granted permission to make their own decisions in terms of budgeting, staffing, curriculum, etc, but are also held to high accountability standards. The students will be tested at the end of each school year by the state standardized tests. Then, the school is given a school grade of A-F. Test scores earned by Advantage Charter Academy students will count towards the parish’s overall performance scores and could bring a real bolster to the parish as well.
Although charter schools are increasing rapidly across the state, there are still relatively few charter schools in northwest Louisiana. Most of the top 15 schools in the state of Louisiana are charter schools.
Therefore, it is important that if you would like to see another public school option in Red River Parish for grade K – 8 that you get involved. Contact your elected school board representatives, and the superintendent’s office, and let the district know you would like to see Advantage Charter Academy open in Coushatta. You can visit Advantage Charter Academy Facebook page, like it, share it, and add your name to the growing list of parents who would like to see school choice in Red River Parish.
They don’t call it graduation, but it is an End of Year Celebration. The class of 2025 is moving up to sixth grade. Their motto, “It doesn’t get easier, we just get better.”
It was a gala celebration held at Red River Elementary School last week as the fifth grade class was treated to Salisbury Steak and all the trimmings for lunch. Then parents and friends came into the gymnasium for a great celebration capped with a slide show titled “We Came, We Saw, We Showed Out.”
The video above is the class song performed by Caitlyn Jones, Anyla Young and Adrianna Bradford accompanied by Cameron Jones on keyboard. The students put on the end of school program including poems by Jemarcus Latson and Shamiya Henderson.
The students received an abundance of awards from their teachers. There were certificates for everything from excellent penmanship to exceptional academic achievement. Many of the students were also awarded medals to wear around their necks.
Closing remarks were offered by Principal Shenell Deville. She thanked friends and family members for coming to help their children celebrate moving from elementary to the sixth grade. Deville told them. “I know you are ready for junior high. Now let me hear your cheer.” To which the kids responded in unison, “1, 2, 3, 4, 5, We’re on our way to Junior High.”