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Students Recognized During GISD School Board Meeting

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 Jackson Takes the Reigns

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – A new face was seen in the superintendent’s position, as the Grapeland ISD Board of Trustees met in their regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, July 17.

Former Grapeland Elementary Principal Don Jackson – selected for the district’s top spot earlier this year – opened his first official school board meeting as the district’s superintendent.

“First, I want to thank of you for coming out,” the new superintendent said. “The first part of our agenda is to recognize several students and Coach (and Athletic Director Wayne) Mahaffey. He has some young men he would like to introduce to you.”

Jackson said the recent tragedy involving GHS student Gus Kennon truly brought out the best in several of Kennon’s classmates.

Kennon was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer rig

“First,” Mahaffey began, “I want to say I had very little to do with this. Basically, I gave permission and watched it for a little while. Jesse (West) messaged me and said they wanted to do a car wash to raise money for the funeral.”

The coach said he was out of town when the tragic events of unfolded, but he contacted Coach Joel Barbosa to help set up the car wash.

“They put it together and they did it. They worked from about 11:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. They worked really hard and raised a total of $3,312 in about five and half hours,” Mahaffey said.

“This is what you want to see from our young people. More than just being football players, or basketball players or baseball players – they are people in the community who saw a need and served that purpose of raising money,” the coach continued. “They didn’t want recognition. All they wanted to do was help out a friend, a community member and a teammate. I think they should be highly commended for the work they put into it.”

The student athletes present at the board meeting were: T.J. Snell; Aaron Davis; Jaylen Humphrey; Jesse West; Colton Richey; Bryan Perez; Jonathan Luce and Dylan Boriskie.

“This is not all of them. We tried to contact all of those involved, but some couldn’t make it. This is the bulk of the guys. They were there a large part of the time, working to accomplish what they did. I think it is a great credit to them as human beings,” Mahaffey said.

GISD Board President Eddie Childress also expressed his appreciation to the young student athletes.

“I appreciate everything you did. Thank you for making the effort and following through. You have made us all very proud of our students here in Grapeland,” he said.

The next recognition given was for Junior High English teacher Angie Conner.

“Mrs. Conner set up a GoFundMe account which helped out tremendously. It raised over $5,000 and we wanted to give her a hand. It was a different way but showed the same heart,” Jackson said.

Also recognized at the GISD meeting was Tim Howard who provided drawings/blueprints for the new baseball field at no charge to the district. Howard is the owner of Penco Drafting Consultants and a baseball umpire with the Texas Association of Sports Officials.

As the meeting continued, Grapeland Elementary Principal Ginger Arbuckle gave a brief update on the STARR test results.

“This is strictly preliminary,” she said. “We will not have the finalized data until sometime in August.”

In other matters brought before the board:

  • Becky Keisling was extended a contract for the position of band director.
  • Elementary Principal Ginger Arbuckle was promoted to the district’s Director of Instruction.
  • Cassie Satterwhite was selected as principal for the Grapeland Elementary School.
  • Several dates of interest for the district were set. Among these are: Aug. 9 – new teacher orientation; Aug. 10-18 – professional development; Aug. 14 – district opening day and convocation; Aug. 16 – Prosperity Bank district luncheon; Aug. 18 – First United Methodist Church luncheon; and Aug. 21- first day of class.
  • Approval was given by the board for instructional materials allotment and TEKS certification.
  • Budget workshops were scheduled for: Aug. 15 at 6:30 p.m.; Aug. 21 at 6:00 p.m.; and Aug. 24 at 6:30 p.m.
  • Consent agenda items were approved.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.