Class of 2019 Graduates From Red River High

Members of the Red River class of 2019 walked across the stage and received their diplomas. Then they turned the tassel on their caps.  And they marched out into the world of advanced education and work.

Class President Ashley Evans welcomed parents, friends and students to the commencement exercises. Evans said, “The class of 2019 is overwhelmed with gratitude and thanks for all you’ve done for us.”

School Guidance Counselor Kyle Wren announced the list of academic scholarships received by members of the class.  And Principal JC Dickey recognized the outstanding honor grads.  Heading the class are Valedictorian Charli Williams and Salutatorian Sagar Patel.

In his comments, Patel introduced “the bright, bold, bodacious class of 2019.”  He said, “Today is a turning point in our lives and we are ready to go on.  In high school we loved, laughed and got into trouble together.  Now we are starting over and looking to the future.”  Patel urged his fellow grads, “Don’t look back and regret, but look forward and smile.”

Valedictorian Charli Williams told a lot of stories on her classmates.  “This has been far from boring,” she said, “I have had my share of memories.”  For her success, Williams said, “I thank God first, then my parents, family and teachers for the knowledge they handed me for the future.”

Williams added, “From now on you are responsible for you.  Don’t forget where you came from.  Grow, succeed, and conqueror.  I wish you the best.  You are one step away from the rest of your life.”

Then came the moment the students had worked over 12 years for.  Principal Dickey, Assistant Principal Tiffany Roque and Superintendent Alison Hughes passed out their diplomas and shook their hand and wished them well.

As the ceremony concluded family and friends rushed in to extend their hand and a hug for the graduates.

66 Juniors Get Their Rings

The senior class of 2020 at Red River High School is getting ready to take over.  They are still juniors for a few days, however they got their rings last week and soon they will be the class everyone strives to reach.

Here is the list of the Class of 2020:

Landon Allen, Brandon Allums, Madelyn Allums, Tyriq Beavers, Marcus Bonner, Kenneth Bradley, Jr., Latreveion Brewer, Julius Brisker, Tommy Brisker, Alexandria Brown, Tachandra Brown, Danielle Burton, Shanterrica Calhoun, Madison Castello, Mar’Quira Christor, Mallory Coleman, Dakota Collins, Skye Davis, Sydney Davis, Isiash Demease, Jacob Durr, Austin Freeman, Tamaron Gaddison, Austin Grigg, Aaliyah Henderson, Kiara Horton, Johntraver Hymes, Chrystal Jackson, Alexis Jones, Dakota Keaton, Khristian Kerby, Aundrea Lawson, Camryn Layfield, Key’Aira Lewis, Makaila Lewis, Sha’Mya Lewis, Ka’Lexcia McCray, Jaylen McDonald, Laporcha Miller, Lucas Mims, Qylil Mosely, Nicholas Narvaez, Schelby Narvaez, Kiefer Nealy, Morgyn Payne, Brittney Perkins, Hannah Pickett, Elisa Ramirez, Zaymere Reed, Zachary Riolo, Jaden Salard, Emmanuel Scott, Jayden Scott, Ashton Smith, Saruenon Subwimol, Sha’  Cilyn Taylor, Hailey Thompson, Shronica Triggs, Savannah Vines, Markell Washington, George Whitaker, Lanautica Williams, Taylor Williams, Shamya Wilson, Seth Wimberly, and Keyanna Winn.

Many of those names may be familiar to you.  They participate in various academic and sports activities at the school.  And they are making an impact on our community.

Beard Announces Run for Assessor

Dovie Neal Beard has announced that she will be a candidate for Red River Parish Assessor in the October 12, 2019 primary election. Long-time Assessor, Becky Craig, is retiring at the end of the current term and Beard is seeking to fill the post.

Beard has been employed in the Assessor’s Office for over 22 years, during which  she has been directly involved in almost every aspect of the operation of the office.

She is a Certified Louisiana Deputy Assessor, having successfully completed 365 hours  of training courses with the International Association of Assessing Officers.  Prior to her  employment with the Assessor’s Office, Beard completed an associate degree in Office Management.

Beard,who is a lifelong resident of Red River Parish, is married to Shawn Beard  and has four children and eight grandchildren.  She is the daughter of the late Ellis and Inez Giddings.  She is an active member of Martin Baptist Church.

In issuing her announcement, Beard stated “With Becky’s retirement, I feel  the citizens of Red River Parish have an opportunity to elect a person who will continue the  high level of service they are used to receiving from the Assessor’s Office.  Because of  the continued updates and improvements over the past years, the Assessor’s Office is as modern and up-to-date as any in the State of Louisiana. As your assessor, I will continue to make improvements to keep it in this condition.

“As a proud native of Red River Parish, I have a strong desire to serve you, the citizens of our parish. My years of experience and my knowledge of all aspects of the operations of the office, combined with my love of this parish, make me uniquely qualified to serve as your Assessor.

My duties have included property transfers, preparation of ownership plats, appraisals, verification and drafting of legal descriptions, compiling millage rates, tax roll abstracts, and assisting in the submission of the annual tax roll to the Louisiana Tax Commission.

“During the past 22-plus years, I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and helping people through the Assessor’s Office. I have been helping you with your homestead exemption, property descriptions, and other matters and have always tried to treat every person respectfully and fairly, the way I would want to be treated, myself. This will be the way I will continue to conduct myself as yourAssessor.

“My promise to you is that I will do my very best to operate a fair and efficient  office.  I pledge to you, the Citizens of Red River Parish, that I will always maintain an open-door policy. I will be out to meet as many people as possible in the upcoming  months. If I miss you, since I am still working, I am asking for your vote, your support, and your prayers. It would be an honor to be yourAssessor.”

Annual Car Show Moved Downtown

The Coushatta Red River Chamber of Commerce moved the annual spring car show to downtown Coushatta. Local and out of town auto enthusiasts turned out to park up and down Front Street.  And vendors had plenty of space to offer their wares and some scrumptious food.

Despite threatening skies twenty-six vehicles entered the event.  As you can see from the photos there was plenty of “show-room fresh” iron lining the street. 

Chamber President Karen Squires said, “The move to Front Street has been amazing.  It will open up so much more opportunity to grow the show in coming years.  It was a great start on Front Street.”

Similar thoughts were expressed by Mayor Johnny Cox, “More room for more cars and plenty of room for vendors is what we have on Front Street.  And there is plenty of parking and room to expand in the future.”  Cox and his sons brought their classic Cadillac convertible.

The judges came around shortly before noon and looked each ride over.  They checked under the hood also.  The trophy ceremony was originally scheduled for 2:30, however this was moved up to about 1:00 because of the threat of rain.

The trophies were awarded.  And each winning vehicle got a rousing round of applause from everyone in attendance. The last award was presented just before gentle drops of rain began to fall.

NSU and LSU Announce Red River Graduates

Eight local students attending Northwestern are among those who were recently awarded degrees. A news release said Northwestern State University awarded 948 degrees to 942 graduates during spring commencement Friday, May 10.  Spring 2019 graduates listed by hometown are as follows:

Coushatta – Destiney Coatney, Bachelor of Arts.  Sydney Anderson, Emily King, William Lee, Aston Lester, Sh’Kea Sibley, Mikailah Smith, and Caroline Wren, Bachelor of Science.


One Red River Parish student at LSU received an advanced degree from the Graduate School.  Receiving her master’s degree was Kelsey Marie Murray of Coushatta. 

Also Louisiana State University has published the May 2019 President’s Honor Roll.  One Red River student is listed.  He is Robert Y. LeGrande of Coushatta.  LeGrande was listed on the President’s Honor Roll from the University College Center for Advising and Counseling.

Undergraduate students enrolled in at least 15 credit hours who earned grade-point averages of 4.0 or higher during the semester are listed on the President’s Honor Roll.

DAR Recognition

Three Red River students were recognized by the Daughters of the American Revolution.  Each was presented a certificate and medallion at the May meeting of the School Board.  Superintendent Alison Hughes said, “This is a new award that is being made available to our students.”

Hughes introduced Norma Lester to the gathering.  Lester is the State Chair for American History of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a group made up of people who can trace their ancestry back to the revolutionary war.

Lester and Hughes presented the awards for excellence in History.  The Daughters of the American Revolution medals and certificates were awarded to :

Kinya Gray, a 5th grade student at Red River Elementary School; Mary Tilley, a 7th grade student at Red River Junior High School; and Laporsha Miller, an 11th grade student at Red River High School.  Tilley and Gray got their medals at the board meeting. Miller’s was to be presented at school.

Lester told the board there are several other DAR members in the parish and that they planned on making the selection of students who excel in history again next year.

Sandwich Sale Friday

What is for lunch Friday? Help yourself to a delicious pulled pork sandwich.  You will be helping the Junior Leaders of the 4-H in the parish.

The purpose of the fundraiser is to help the 4-H’s Junior Leaders go to 4-H University at LSU, Baton Rouge in June.

Sandwiches with chips and desert are $8.00 each.  Sandwich orders of five or more may be delivered.  Call the parish 4-H office to order.  Their number is 932-4342.

ETC… for Wednesday, May 22nd

The School Superintendent is putting out the word that all students will have classes today, Wednesday May 22nd.  A problem with the air conditioning at the Junior High School had school officials scrambling to find cool classrooms.  Testing is going, so despite the A/C problems Superintendent Hughes called parents to assure them that the kids will have a cool classroom for their tests Wednesday.

There is a fish fry Friday evening at Clara Springs camp.  Cost is $6.00.  There will be a balloon artist entertaining the crowd during the meal.

Cowboy Church is holding a one-day Vacation Bible School on Saturday June 1stfrom 10:00 am until 3:00 pm.  It is for ages 4 years through 6thgrade.

Red River Parish has received a tremendous amount of rain in recent days as major storm systems moved across northwest Louisiana.  However we may not recognize the blessing inside the rainfall.  Look at the map below indicating the number of tornadoes that have hit this part of the state.  Notice anything strange?  Red River is at zero.  That precipitation will run off eventually.  We have been blessed by the miss.

Our Assessor is Retiring

Red River Parish Assessor Becky Craig has announced that she will not seek re-election this fall.

Craig was hired as a part-time employee in 1982.  She was sworn in as Deputy Assessor in 1984 and has served as Assessor since 1997.

“Words can never express my sincere appreciation for the privilege to serve as Red River Assessor.  The trust and confidence you placed in me the past 22 years has been one of the greatest honors of my life.  I will forever cherish the people of our great parish and all the dear friends I have made over the course of the years.

“I would also like to extend my utmost gratitude to my staff for all their hard work and dedication through the years.  They are truly the foundation of the office.  We have a special relationship that is comparable to none.  After 36 years, leaving them and the rest of the employees in the courthouse will be very difficult to say the least!” 

Craig said she is excited about spending more time with her family and with her first grandchild, which is due in August of this year.

Craig’s term will officially end December 31, 2020.

Deputies Arrest Natchitoches Man on Drug and Firearms Charges

At approximately 11:00 p.m. on May 7, 2019 a Red River Parish Sheriff’s Office deputy initiated a traffic stop on US Hwy 71 just north of Esperanza Road. The driver appeared nervous and subsequently granted permission for deputies to look inside his vehicle.

During the vehicle search, deputies discovered several drug related items in addition to a rifle that was in plain view. Items recovered included suspected synthetic marijuana, suspected methamphetamine, a burnt cigarette containing suspected synthetic marijuana and a package of cigarette papers. All items were collected as evidence.

Brandon D. Basco, W/M, age 26 of the 100 block of Dogwood Trail, Natchitoches, LA was taken into custody without incident and transported to the Red River Parish Jail for booking.

Basco was charged with one count each of the following: Possession of Firearm in Presence of a Controlled Dangerous Substance (CDS), Possession of Schedule I Synthetic Cannabinoids, Possession of Schedule II CDS, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia and Proper Equipment Required on Vehicles.

His total bond was set at $11,000 and he remains incarcerated in the Red River Parish Jail.

School Board Recognizes Employees for Years of Service

At the end of each school year, the Red River Parish School Board recognizes loyal employees who have served 5, 10, 15, etc. years.  They are presented a certificate and service pin for service to the school system and to education.

At the May board meeting, Superintendent Alison Hughes made the presentations and personally congratulated each employee.  Here is the list:

Employees with five years of service are:  Crystal Briggs, Lindsay Cook, Charles Crockett, Dustie Gibson, Julie Inman, Megan Inman, Taylor Sesvold, and Nikki Smith.

Employees with ten years of service are:  Casey Bolyer, Etta Calhoun, Rachel Covington, Melinda Hardy, Kara McCoy, and Ronnie Williams, Jr.

Employees with fifteen years of service are:  Turischeva Bailey, Jennifer Breedlove, Misty Chelette, Jack Clark, Patience Danzy, Billy L. Henry, Janice LaCaze, Kelli Moseley, Sherry Pickett, Jacqueline Richmond, Jacqueline Smith, Debra Webb, Susan Williams, and Rachel Williamson.

Employees who have twenty years of service are:  Debbie Bamburg, Martha Davis, Michelle Deville, Peggy Key, Vanessa Lloyd, Persunda Raymond, Charles D. Rester, Cynthia Smith, and Lynda Swafford.

The list of employees with twenty-five years of service included:  Carol Davis, Shenell Deville, Ossie Lewis, Melissa Long, Shanna Moore, and Diane Newton.

Employees with thirty years of service are:  Mary Keith, Sharon Martin, and Cleve Miller.

Kathryn Anyan had thirty-five years of service to education.

Thomas Edwards received a certificate and pin for forty years of service.

And those with forty-five years of service were:  Doyle Bell, Lawanna Fowler, and Deborah Guidry.

The employees who received their recognition at the meeting last Monday night are shown in the photos accompanying this article. Superintendent Hughes thanked the teachers and other employees for their service to education.  She said, “We appreciate you guys very much.”

Elementary School MVPs

From Shenell Deville, Principal of Red River Elementary School

For our last month of the 2018-2091 school year, we are recognizing staff members as our “Most Valuable Players” MVP.  These faculty members are recognized for their attendance, positive spirit, team effort, and their motivation to do above and beyond.

For the month of May we have selected five staff members who serve in various capacities. All year long they have been consistent in their job duties, displayed positive work ethics, and have been team players.  Our MVP staff are Tanya Barbo, Cafeteria Staff, Jessica Korn, 1st Grade Teacher, Edna Webb, Teacher of the 3 Year Old Program, Lisa Stevenson, Custodian, and Lathy Grant, PreK paraprofessional.

RRES Staff Recognition Committee will award the staff with a treat bag with their favorite snacks, a duty free lunch, a certificate, and picture on the MVP spotlight bulletin board.   In addition, our wonderful PAW Parents  will present them with sweet treats from a local baker.

Red River Outpaces the State in Graduation Rates

Recently released figures from the Louisiana Department of Education indicate Red River Parish is outpacing the state in students graduating.  This has been true for the parish in four of the last five years or since the 2013-14 school year.

Here are the highlights in the news release from the Education Department:

“More Louisiana students than ever before graduated from high school in four years in 2018, according to results released today (May 15th) by the state’s Department of Education. More graduates than ever before also achieved college credits and highly valued industry credentials, and earned Taylor Opportunity Program for Students (TOPS) scholarships, making the Class of 2018 the highest achieving in state history.

“These record-breaking gains come on the heels of nationally-recognized efforts in Louisiana to strengthen accountability standards and diploma requirements; expand the Jump Start program; support opportunities for students to earn postsecondary credits in high school through programs like dual enrollment, Advanced Placement (AP), College Level Examination Program (CLEP), and International Baccalaureate; align coursework with college admissions and TOPS requirements; and encourage financial aid planning.”

The report is based upon information from the 2017-18 school year.  Red River Parish graduated 85.7 percent of students taking four years of high school. The state graduation rate was 81.4 percent.  Red River beat the state overall graduation rate in 2014-15, 2015-16, and 2016-17. And Red River got within one tenth of a percentage point in 2013-14.

Colorful and More

Great exercise and a tremendous ending is the description of this year’s Color Run put on by Riverdale Academy.  It was held at Grand Bayou last Saturday.  When it was over runners and organizers all needed a trip through the showers.

Organizers of the event said about sixty runners took part.  The strongest runner was Reagan Huddleston.  He was first out of the gate, first to get “colorized,” and the first across the finish line.  Huddleston’s time was 27:46 for the 3.1 mile course.

The route was 3.1 miles and made several loops around the resort property.  First adult to finish the race was Amanda Cason.  She ran it in 46:07.

Some of the participants ran, some jogged, and some just walked.  The object was to have fun and several adults counted the same loop twice or just sat out the second half.  But all got plenty of color!  Everyone got a medal.  And the first place youth and first place adult received a special medal memorializing the race.

Runners gathered at the pavilion at Grand Bayou under overcast skies with a threat of rain. There may have been a few sprinkles, but nothing to dampen the festive spirit.

This run had six color stations.  Volunteers met runners who passed each station with squirts of colored powder.  So by the end of the race participants and their clothes were sporting red and blue, yellow and green, purple and more.

Junior Class Moving Up

The torch was passed to the Junior Class at Riverdale’s commencement exercises a week ago. Members of the class took the responsibilities the grads of 2019 had filled for the past year.  Then on Monday of this week the Junior Class took another step when they were presented with their senior rings.

There are thirteen members of the Class of 2020.  All wore senior shirts for the presentation.  Parents or friends of each Junior presented them their ring and placed it on their finger.

A slide presentation at the beginning of the ceremony took a look at each student, and usually included baby pictures and a brief biographical sketch of each and a favorite saying.  When the rings were presented there was another slide of the student with a favorite memory or moment from their time at Riverdale.

Members of the Riverdale Academy Class of 2020 are Morgan Alexander, Brooklyn Azlin, Tylar Bare, Dayton Brown, Adam Bryant, Georgia Dowdy, Malea Edwards, Dakota Gryder, Bailee King, Heidi Murray, Justin Oliver, Bailey Pate, and Jackson Riggs.

Red River Students of the Month

Red River schools have selected their Students of the Month for May.  They were introduced to the School Board on May 13th. Michaela Henderson was the only one of the three present at the meeting.

Superintendent Alison Hughes read each student’s nomination from their school.

Red River Elementary School student selected is Michaela Henderson.

Michaela is a student in Mrs. Korn’s first grade class. She is a wonderful young lady and a very smart student.  She is also a great leader, helper and is always ready to help the students along with the teacher.  Michaela always has a positive attitude and has something positive to say about everyone. Michaela has outstanding behavior and I am beyond grateful to have such a sweetheart in my classroom.

Red River Junior High School student selected is Annaston Villalpondo.

Annaston is an 8th grade student at Red River Junior High School.  She is a very dedicated student who cares very much about her studies.  Annaston is a leader among her peers in the classroom and is always available to help those around her.  She is a joy to have in class and is always helpful and respectful when called upon.  Hard work and dedication have always made her stand out among her classmates.  Her commitment to her studies will surely follow her throughout the remainder of her school career, ensuring her success.  Annaston is so very deserving of the honor of student of the month.  She possesses all the qualities that are present in outstanding students.

Red River High School student selected is Chasity Douglas.

Chasity is a wonderful student.  She is kind, has a terrific work ethic and is always ready for any task.  She always has a smile on her face and wishes all a good morning and have a nice day.

The Student of the Month is a community project of VFW Post and Auxiliary 7287 in Coushatta.  Each student gets a certificate to recognize their award.  They also get a gift card from Dairy Queen.

ETC… for Friday, May 17th

The National Weather Service office in Shreveport says we should have good weather during the day Saturday for the car show in downtown Coushatta.  But look out later in the day.  Here is the prediction posted by the weather service:  “The next round of severe weather is expected to arrive on Saturday through Saturday night as an upper level disturbance shifts across the region. All of our Four-State area is included in either an Enhanced Risk or Slight Risk. Large hail, damaging winds, and isolated tornadoes will all be possible as storms develop and intensify through Saturday afternoon and evening during peak heating hours. In addition, heavy rainfall may lead to localized flash flooding in some areas. “  The weather service says Red River is in the “slight risk” area.

Sunday May 19this the next date in the Summer Playday Series at Red River Cowboy Church.  Books open at 12:30 and the show starts at 2:00 pm.  Horse events include Barrels, Speed Race and Poles.  Non-horse events include Stick Horse Race and a Goat Ribbon Pull.  There are categories for little kids up to three years old and a second category for children 4 to 6 years old.

Policy Changed So Students Can Walk

On Monday night the Red River Parish School Board changed a long-standing policy to allow three or four students who did not complete all of the requirements for graduation to walk across the stage with their classmates.  Similar arguments from parents in prior years had been turned aside as the board cited “policy” in not letting them walk.

An impassioned, emotional plea was made by Patrice Levi on behalf of her son and the other students. Her basic argument was that the student had gone through school in the parish beginning in pre-K, so her son had earned the right to walk across the stage.  Levi said, “I want the board to allow my son to march at graduation, put on the cap and gown, turn that tassel, and have the feeling of accomplishment.” She acknowledged that her son had not met all of the requirements, that he had failed the EOC (State mandated End of Course tests) but had passed all other requirements for getting a diploma.

Levi added, “My greatest fear is that he goes to summer school this summer and he again fails the (EOC) test.  I want him to pass.  He wants to march with his class.  This has been very stressful for me and the other parents who have gone through it.”

Board member Valerie Cox spoke up on behalf of the students.  Cox read a petition that was circulated by the Class of 2019.  Cox said the petition had signatures of 200 classmates asking that the students be allowed to walk at graduation.  Cox told the board, “The EOC has been a struggle for this student.  It is insulting, psychologically damaging for the child to be denied the privilege because of the EOC.”

Cox stated that the board had made exceptions in the past.  “I don’t know why we have to be so strict and harsh,” she said.  And Cox added, “I am asking you (the board) to comply with the parents’ wishes, asking for an opportunity that the kids deserve. We can allow students to participate in a ritual, that’s all it is a ritual.  Why not allow them that honor?”

Cox made a motion that the School Board make an exception and allow the students to march.  That motion died for lack of a second.

Board Member Cleve Miller said he could not vote for Cox’s motion.  Miller said, “If this board does anything different from the policy, we are violating the policy.  The point is is the board willing to change the policy?”

Then Miller made a motion that the board change the policy to allow students who have completed all requirements except passing the EOC to march with their class.  He said, “They would walk with their class and only get an empty diploma folder.  They would not graduate, just participate in the ceremony.”

After a bit of discussion, the consensus was that the board policy would be amended at the meeting to allow the students who have not passed the EOC but completed all other requirements to walk this year.  It was decided that the staff would work up a proper policy update that will be correct for the future and that that new policy statement would be adopted by the board at the June 10thmeeting.

Miller revised his motion to contain correct wording to change the policy immediately.  Ms. Cox seconded it.  The motion carried on a voice vote with only board member Gary Giddens casting a “nay” vote.

It’s Time to Show Your Horses

Members of 4-H in Red River Parish are getting ready to show their horses.  Parish 4-H Agent Jacque Fontenot posted details of the upcoming shows:

The 2019 Northwest District Horse Show will be held Friday June 7, 2019 at the Red River Cowboy Church in Coushatta. To participate, exhibitors must have had the horse(s) that they intend to show in their possession April 1. Copies of registration papers and/or Grade horse certificates must be turned in to me with entry forms. Horses must belong to the youth exhibiting them or an immediate family member. Immediate family member is defined as parent, step-parent, grandparent, or siblings. 

To participate in the State 4-H Horse Show, you must qualify at the district level. To enter the district show, email the RRP 4-H Office for an entry form and code of conduct and submit with a check made out to DeSoto 4-H Foundation. Entries no later than Friday May 24, 2019. A separate entry must be filled out for each horse exhibited. Entry fees for the district show are $10 per class with a $50 horse/rider cap. 

The State 4-H and FFA Horse Show will be held July 6– July 10, 2019 at the Lamar Dixon Expo in Gonzales, LA. Entry fees for the state show are paid at the show.  

Please note that classes not offered at the district level must still be entered (on the entry form, no fee charged) at the district show to be eligible at state. Also please stress that NO Classes will be allowed to be added to an exhibitors entry the day of the district show! Only scratches can be made. Exhibitors can contact Molly Usher directly if they have questions DeSoto Parish (318)872-0641 office.

She Will Be Missed

Katherine Wallace passed from our midst recently.  She was loved by many people she never met.  She brought joy each week to many who enjoyed reading the “Red Oak News” column in the Coushatta Citizen.

Wallace lived modestly on the Red Oak Road for years.  She wrote about the things she observed out her window and from her porch.  We all got to share when she noted that the birds were flying, that we got some rain, or the kids are getting ready to go back to school. 

Her paper posted this brief obituary:

“March 25, 1945 – March 5, 2019
A graveside service for Katherine Wallace, 73, of Coushatta was Friday, May 3 at Davis Springs Southern Methodist Church, officiated by Bro. Olan McLaren. She was born March 25, 1945 and passed away March 5, 2019. She was a long-time correspondent for the Coushatta Citizen, writing the Red Oak News for many years.”

After moving from the Red Oak Road to Green Meadow Haven in 2017, Wallace remained active and continued writing her column for a time.  Wallace was Queen at the Valentine’s party at the nursing home in 2017.  She also enjoyed the traveling Elvis impersonator who came to entertain the residents.  One moment The Journal noted was her broad smile when “Elvis” wiped the perspiration from his brow and presented the scarf to her.  Later she posed with him for pictures.

Thanks to C’Ann Norman for the photo and to others whose remembrances of Wallace assisted with this story.  Some say that we never know the impact we have on other people.  I am sure that is true of the correspondent from the Red Oak Road.  Bob Hope put it best, “Thanks for the memories…”

Riverdale Academy Graduation

To the strains of “Pomp and Circumstance” the class of 2019 walked from the stage into their future last Thursday night.  Graduation featured guest speakers, award presentations and words of encouragement from classmates.

The graduates are Kyle Brice Cason, Abby Lynne Clemons, Seth Jordan Freeman, Emily Grace Hodge, Bailey Elaine LeGrande, Willem Augustus LeGrande, Shelby Lynn Lindsey, Kaylee Alaine Merry, Matthew Scott Shaver, Caitlyn Marian Thompson, Brailee Caroline Vaughn and Alyssa Cheyanne Woodard.

Dr. Hunter Brown lead the singing of “How Great Thou Art” and the Devotional was by Pastor Mark Briggs of Riverpark Church.  Briggs said, “The one thing that will make you successful setting out in life, the one thing I needed most, is faith.”  He said to forget about the past, “faith comes to us to learn from our present.”

Briggs told the graduates, “You may make mistakes, but life is all about falling forward.  Your faith in God will change everything.  Reach forward toward the future.”

Class Valedictorian Bailey LeGrande told graduates, “I am eternally grateful for the support system I found here.  I thank God for everything.  There were many obstacles, but I would not change a thing.  The stumbling blocks became steps.”  LeGrande added, “I thank my classmates for my years at Riverdale. You provided great memories and I will cherish these moments.”

Dr. Brown handed out many awards and scholarships.  Several individuals presented awards as well.  Darlene Dickson presented the Adam Lee Perkins Scholarship to Matthew Shaver. Sheriff Glen Edwards presented the Sheriff’s Scholarship to Bailey LeGrande.  American Legion Post Commander Bruce Ray presented Kaylee Alaine Merry and Kyle Brice Cason the American Legion Awards.  And the Life Share Blood Scholarship was presented by Abby Lynne Clemons by Philip Maxfield.

Then Dr. Robert Peters called each graduate to the front and presented them their diploma.  In his remarks, Dr. Peters told them they had an obligation to salute Hunter Brown for the work he did as senior class sponsor. Peters stated the authority he has to declare them all graduates, concluding with, “You may turn your tassels. I approve.  You are graduated.”

The final duty of the Class of 2019 was to pass the torch.  This tradition symbolizes the passing of the duties of seniors on to the junior class.  As each graduate left the stage, they took a single red rose and presented it to their parents.  Then all gathered at the back of the gymnasium to toss their hats into the air.

Riverdale Hires New Football Coach

“I can beat the opponents in the fourth quarter if my guys are in shape,” School Principal Dr. Robert Peters quotes Guy Hathorn.  Peters recently hired Hathorn to coach the Rebels football squad next season.

Peters said Hathorn will be in town about June 10th.  “He has tremendous experience as a football coach,” said Peters.  He has prior coach and assistant coach experience and Peters said, “He is an expert in 8-man football, the brand of football we play at Riverdale.”

In addition to his coaching experience, Hathorn is a retired veteran with three tours in Vietnam and two in Germany to his credit.  He finished his Army career with 10 years at Fort Polk.

Peters told The Journal that Hathorn stresses a good offense, a strong defense, and strength and conditioning.  In addition to his athlete team duties, Hathorn will teach History and Social Studies.

Another Red River Athlete Signs

Thursday May 9this a day Teanna Eason will remember the rest of her life. Last week Eason signed a college athletic scholarship.

Her family, friends, coaches and others were by her side at the High School for the signing ceremony.

JC Dickey, her Principal posted, “So proud of this girl and how much she has improved over the last year. Teanna Eason just signed to run track at BPCC on their brand new Track and Field Team. I am saying, it now with the help of her new track coaches and her commitment I believe she will be blowing the competition away soon. Run fast and turn left girl you got this.”