By Jason Jones
LATEXO – Thursday evening saw a large turnout for Latexo’s annual “Meet The Tigers” night, which was highlighted by the introduction of seven new members to the Tigers’ coaching staff, as well as welcoming a large number of incoming freshman athletes.
Teachers, coaches, students and parents all attended the event, which seemed to be a rebirth, of sorts, of an excitement for the start of what promises to be a much anticipated return to school for teachers and students fresh off what widely feels like a year lost to COVID.
The event’s atmosphere was overwhelmingly positive. Families, faculty, and administration, fueled by the desire to return to a normal school experience compared to last year’s challenging and trying COVID circumstances, showed up ready to celebrate back-to-school excitement. The enthusiasm present at the event gave the evening an air of anticipated success for the coming school year.
LISD School Board President Kelly Nicol expressed what most involved were feeling.
“Everybody’s just ready to go back to normal,” said Nicol. “And I feel like last night was a pretty good taste of normal.”
And while “normal” is definitely the goal, Nicol was quick to point out that safety is still the first priority for the district.
“Latexo ISD has taken back over the custodial crew,” said Nicol. “We feel like that’s a really really important piece of the puzzle in keeping our students healthy. We took that back over, and I feel like that’s going to be a really good thing for our school. The custodial staff has done a fantastic job getting the school ready for the kids and the teachers.”
Besides meeting the teachers and athletes, the community was also excited to meet the 2021-2022 Latexo coaching staff for the Tigers. Athletic Director Greg Horn, who will also coach softball, volleyball and girls basketball, introduced the rest of the Latexo coaching staff. Boys basketball and golf coach Stephen Seaback, baseball coach Ryan Treuter, girls tennis and golf coach Vicki Bennett, cross country and track coach Jessica Cutshall, assistant softball and basketball coach Courtney Turrubiartes, assistant softball coach Mary Beth Webb, and assistant cross country and track coach Dyliss Bobbitt all received an enthusiastic welcome. In return, the coaching staff set about grilling in excess of 300 hamburgers for all in attendance.
Besides the introduction of the teachers and coaching staff, the community celebrated the successful approval of what will be a welcome addition to the district in the way of construction of a new gym, as well as a new elementary cafeteria and CTE classrooms.
In a special meeting last week, Latexo ISD approved the bid by contracting firm Berry & Clay, and engineers Goodwin, Lassiter and Strong, which after much effort and research, came in under budget. Nicol praised the efforts of all involved in the process.
“I am extremely proud of what Superintendent Michael Woodard did in conjunction with Stephen Berry with Berry & Clay and Hudson Henderson with Goodwin, Lassiter and Strong, and the way that the entire process went, along with the school board and all the community members who helped push this through,.” Nicol continued, “The bond, which was pushed out to November due to COVID, passed by more than a two to one margin, and the community showed overwhelming support, even during the hardest of times.”
Nicol continued his kudos for all involved in the process.
“After the bond was passed, the economy went crazy. Gas prices doubled. Wood prices doubled. Steel prices doubled. Our people continued working, sharpened their pencils and brought the bid in under budget, where many other districts either postponed their projects or cancelled them altogether. Our project will begin construction in two weeks, and this time next year, we will be in a new gym for ‘Meet the Tigers and Meet the Teachers,’” said Nicol.
The evening was far from the typical meet and greet.
This year’s event seemed to be a renewal of excitement for Latexo ISD and the community. 2021/22 promises to be a great year for the Tigers.
Jason Jones may be reached via email at [email protected]