Keeping Students Healthy

Students at Red River High School took part in a Health Fair last Thursday, March 14th. It was held in the gym and class by class took part.

Many health screenings were available to students. And the Red River Parish Health Unit was there to conduct tests for STDs. The prevalence of sexually transmitted disease in our parish, especially among young people, is a major concern for medical authorities. At the health fair, students were afforded the opportunity for confidential testing for STDs.

Dietitian Grey Rogers was there from the MLK Health Center and Pharmacy. She explained to students the impact on their bodies of added sugar. Rogers said, “There is a lot of added sugar in products young people consume. It is important to educate them to the added sugar in soft drinks and sports drinks.” The MLK Health Center was also offering free blood pressure checks for students. High blood pressure is a disease that shows little or no symptoms in early stages.

Another station offered information from the Nurse Family Partnership and from Parents As Teachers. A spokesperson told the Journal they are concerned with the well-being of babies from conception, through delivery, and the first two years of life. She said they support expectant and new mothers as well as their whole families.

Christus Coushatta Dental Clinic was there with oral health information. Tabitha King distributed goodie bags containing a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and information on oral health and care of the teeth.

Relay for Life 4-H Team Forming

The 4-H Clubs in Red River Parish are getting ready for the 2019 Relay for Life. Since there is no relay event in Red River, they are planning on attending the Bienville Parish event in Ringgold on April 5th.

Our new 4-H Agent, Jacque Fontenot is inviting everyone, not just 4-H members, to join their team “Red River 4-H” and join the event. It will be held at the track at Ringgold High School from 5:00 to 9:00 pm.

Fontenot said, “Lots of fun activities. Dress up in your favorite fifties clothes. There will be a DJ with 50’s jukebox, a cake walk, silent auction a Sandy and Danny look-alike contest and there will be an outdoor showing of the movie Grease.”

To join, go to and sign up. Or you can come by the 4-H office in the top floor of the Administration Building (Health Unit) to sign up. Bring $20 and join the team.

Fontenot said 4-H members in the parish are taking part in Relay for Life as their Spring Service Learning Project. The team name is Red River Parish 4-H.

Bluegrass and BBQ Celebration

Good music and great food make for a fantastic Saturday afternoon. Fairview Baptist Church invites you to bring your lawn chair and enjoy the day.

Mark Saturday, March 30th on your calendar for Bluegrass and BBQ. The fun starts at noon at Fairview Baptist Church. And the best part is it’s is without cost and without price.

Music will be provided by Lindley Creek and Williamson Branch. There will be door prizes awarded. And of course plenty of Bar-B-Que. Fairview Baptist Church invites you to make plans to bring the whole family.

Fairview Baptist Church is located on US 71 in south Red River Parish. For additional information, check their Facebook page or call 318-932-5940.

JROTC Military Ball

The corps of cadets and guests gathered Friday night in the Red River High School Gym for their annual Military Ball. Gentlemen wore their best military uniforms with highly polished shoes. Ladies wore their best evening attire.

It was a fun evening, with a little foolishness thrown in. Military Balls are a long-standing tradition in the US Armed Services and ROTC programs as well. The Red River Cadets did an excellent job of maintaining that tradition to the highest standards.

Five seniors were presented awards for completing the JROTC program. They are Cadet Sargent Orquinta Taylor (4 years), Cadet Master Sargent Ariel Babers (3 years), Cadet Master Sargent John Lewis (4 years), Cadet Major Alexis Keith (4 years), and Cadet Major Teanna Eason (4 years). Keith and Eason were two of the cadets who oversaw the planning, preparations and execution of the Military Ball.

One highlight of the evening is the Grog Bowl, a just-barely non-toxic mix of pungent ingredients. Cadets cited for violations of the rules of the Mess (which are lengthy) are sent to the Grog to drink a cup of the brew. They then must invert their glass over their head to show that it is empty.

After a delicious meal, cadets and guests were served cake for desert. Cutting the cake is another time honored ceremony. The senior and junior military members present do the honors. Friday night it was Major Edwards and Cadet Airman Hardy Dowden who used long sabers to make the first slice.

The guest speaker was Lt. Col. Ryan Hatten, USAF Retired, who issued a challenge. The cadets were challenged to live the Air Force core values of integrity, service before self, and excellence before self. Hatten recalled, “I have lived them for twenty years. A lot of you are on the right path, so stay on it.”

Hatten defined integrity, “We always said ‘integrity’ was doing the right thing when no one is looking. I trust you to do the right thing when no one is around. We trust you.” He said to follow your moral compass and adhere to a strong honor code.

Service above self is another quality. Hatten said, “Dedicate yourself to things bigger than yourself. Look at the outcome of planning and the work that went into this event. We had a good turnout, a great ROTC faculty, some hard work and we like to have fun too!”

Lt. Col. Hatten remarked that his high school did not offer JROTC, that he became involved while in college. He said, “Be thankful that you have a program. As Airmen, continue to develop and enhance yourself. For students who will be here next year, take it to a higher level in everything you do. If you made a 90 on a test, make a 95 next time.”

Hatten concluded his remarks, “It’s what the core values are all about. They are for everyone to be successful in life. A lot have Biblical overtones as you would expect. Have integrity, don’t be selfish all the time, and put the team first.”

Then came the presentation of awards. Winners of the Cadet Fitness Awards were:

John Lewis won Male Push-up and Sit-up awards. Alexandria Brown won the Female Push-up award. Tianna Eason won the Female Push-up award. Awards for the mile run went to Ethan Morgan and Kaitlyn Antilley.

Four Cadets attended Leadership School this year. The corps will send seven cadets to the next Cadet Leadership School. Those recent attendees are Alex Brown, Key’Aria Lewis, Ethan Morgan and Ashton Smith.

At the end of the evening an American Flag that had flown in combat was presented to the school. The Journal will have that story in Friday’s Edition.

Head Start Helps Their Own

The staff and kids in the Pine Belt Head Start program put on a fund-raiser to benefit two of their own. Jacqueline Williams called the other day to say that they were selling raffle tickets with the proceeds going to two Head Start families that had suffered recent difficulties.

Here is the story from Tiesha Cato:

“On Friday, March 15, 2018, Red River Head Start held a raffle to support two of our Head Start families. We raffled a 50”inch Sceptre television that was donated by A.N.D. (a new Direction), the television was won by LaCarsha Babers of Natchitoches, La.

We are very proud of our community for stepping up and showing our families the love that they needed at this time.”

ETC… for Wednesday, March 20th

New Hope Baptist Church at Hanna will celebrate the first anniversary of A New Direction male choir. The church asks choirs and praise dance teams join them Saturday March 30th and Sunday March 31st at 5:00 pm both days.

Here is a tasty activity, the Flavor of Louisiana at NSU. On-line tickets will be available through Wednesday, March 20 for Flavor of Louisiana, a seafood extravaganza presented in partnership with Northwestern State University and the Louisiana Seafood Board. The event will feature 25 chefs and vendors from around the state offering samplings of Louisiana seafood dishes, along with specialty cocktails, craft beers, desserts and meat options for non-seafood eaters. Flavor of Louisiana will take place from 6-11 p.m. Friday, March 22 in Prather Coliseum. Tickets are $65 per person and $125 per couple and will be available at the door.

A couple of events for your April calendar. BETA club at Red River Elementary is having a Father-Daughter Dance on April 5th and a Mother-Son Dance on April 12th. Call the school for more information.

Recently the Town Council signed new franchise agreements with Atmos Energy and CP-Tel. The council also approved cooperative agreements with the Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Commission for improvements at the town’s park. The actions were taken at the Town Council meeting on March 12th.

BETA Students Prepare for Convention

Seven elementary school students stood up before the Red River Parish School Board last Monday night and requested permission to attend the national Junior BETA Convention in Oklahoma City in June. Board members were impressed with the presentation and gave their stamp of approval on the trip.

Elementary school teacher Tiffany Williams is the BETA club sponsor. She told The Journal that nineteen students are planning to make the trip. Williams said, “All nineteen competed at the state BETA Convention in January. They placed at state, which qualifies them to go to nationals.” She added, “They will be in the Songfest competition.”

Pictured with this article are Emily Morgan, Taleha Hill, Bri’anna Taylor, Fa’dasia Demery, Makalia Murphy, Tylan Beavers, and Kinya Gray. Each student explained to the school board members the competitions they entered at state and what they accomplished.

The board gave their permission for the trip, however Williams said, “It will be funded by their parents and by fundraisers. Some of the fundraisers planned include a Father-Daughter Dance, a Mom-Son Dance, a Pep Rally leading into testing season and a Talent show.”

Williams said anyone wishing to help the students get to the BETA Convention can take part in these events or send a donation to Red River Elementary at 1001 Ashland Road. Make checks payable to the school.

Hospital Proposes New Medical Services for Schools

“School Based Telemedicine Services” is a proposal made to the school board by Christus Coushatta. Board members said they are definitely interested, but want more information on costs and the process of implementation.

Christus Coushatta Administrator Brandon Hillman presented the idea to the board. Hillman said, “Several neighboring parishes do this. Kids can be seen right in the school, without having to go to a clinic or emergency room.”

Central to the service is a medical cart that would be located at the school. It would be connected via the internet to the hospital. A Nurse Practitioner at the hospital would talk with the student and be able to check their vital signs, look in their ear, listen to their heart and make other evaluations. The school nurse or trained equipment operator at the school would facilitate the process.

Hillman said, “We are in a healthcare shortage area. There are not as many doctors and medical people as in a larger area. This takes the health care worker to the student.” He added, “There is less stress for caregivers. They don’t have to leave their job. Teachers don’t have to take off. And the quality of health care is just as good as being in front of a doctor.”

With this system, Hillman explained, a student could be diagnosed, get a prescription sent to the pharmacy, and get the treatment he needed without having to wait to see a doctor.

“What is the cost?” asked board member Valerie Cox. Hillman said, “Each medical cart would cost $45,000 and one would be required for each school location. In addition, there is about $15,000 in continuing costs per year.” This does not include any costs of providing space at the school or hiring a school employee to work the equipment.

Cox asked School Nurse Fleeter Taylor to comment. Taylor said, “It is a great tool. Implementation will be learning how to use it. I think it’s a starting point and would be wonderful for the staff.”

Board member Gary Giddens said he has some experience with the system now in operation in Bienville Parish. “Absolutely move forward with it,” said Giddens.

The school board decided this system is something they want to explore. Hillman said his goal is to open this system at at least one school by the beginning of the next school year.

Support Personnel Recognized

“These are the folks that make our schools work,” said School Superintendent Alison Hughes. She presented the support personnel selected for their contributions to the public school system in the parish.

Hughes presented those chosen at the School Board meeting Monday night. A top support person was named for each campus. Registered Nurse Fleetor Taylor was named Support Person of the Year for Red River Elementary School.

Top Support Person from the Junior High is Lois Miller. Latosha Hopper was selected Support Person of the Year from Red River High. And Jacki Richmond was named Springville Education Center Support Person of the Year. Each received a plaque in recognition of their accomplishment.

Transportation Manager Dan Pickett presented his top bus driver. She is Olivia Winslow. Pickett said, “She goes far beyond driving a bus,” as he presented Winslow with a plaque and a jacket.

Recognition for Teachers of the Year

Each year the top teachers at Red River schools are recognized. Last Monday night Superintendent Alison Hughes presented Teacher of the Year for each school to the School Board.

The teacher selected from Red River Elementary is Julie Inman. Teacher of the Year for Red River Junior High is Latonzia Beavers. And the teacher chosen from Red River High School is Rachel Urda.

They were introduced by Hughes and thanked for their dedication and service to students. Also each was presented with a plaque in recognition of their being selected Teacher of the Year.