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From left: Kristen Orsak, Jake Liker, and Kennedy Bush

January 27, 2020 - During Tuesday’s Rotary meeting, three Center High School students spoke to the club about their recent trip to the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp.

CISD junior Kristen Orsak spoke first about their adventure, “So we went to RYLA not this weekend, but the weekend before. We got there about 6:00 on Friday night and we didn’t leave until about 3:00 on Sunday at the Pineywoods Baptist Encampment. It was crazy jammed with all these events that we were doing, trust building exercises and everything else, and a bunch of motivational speakers that we [were] able to listen to from all over the state.“

Jake Liker, also a junior at Center, said, “It was fun getting to meet new people. Even still we made a bunch of group chats that you still connected with all those people we were with, things like that, built a lot of trust with them. [I] think that’s what was great about this, building trust with people that you didn’t know. That was good.”

The third junior who attended RYLA was Kennedy Bush. She said, “One of my favorites was we did a ropes course, but is more like a trust and leadership thing. So, you have to get your group and find out a way to get over this giant wall and you had to communicate, but you had to do it quietly and listen to everyone and it was really fun.”

Kristen Orsak added concerning the other campers she met, “You are all involved in a crazy amount of stuff at school, you all have crazy schedules, and crazy lives and everything else and all of you aspire to be the best leader you can be, and so when you go and meet all these people, there is no differences between you, so that connection is just so more genuine than just basic school work and that sort of thing.”

Jake Liker spoke at the end of the program saying, “I just want to say thank you as well for sponsoring us to go, that’s a big part of it.”

During a question and answer portion of the program, one Rotarian asked if they had learned much about Rotary at the camp.

Kristen Orsak answered, “They did actually. We had a whole hour long speech on the four way test, what that means, where it came from and where it originated, and on top of that, we had a lot of people that were Rotary members from all over our district and from all of them, we were able to see how they had been a part of the Rotary Club, what status they had in the Rotary Club, and all sorts of things. We met people from Rotaract, which is the college version, if I’m not mistaken and those people were helping us with the events as well and we got to meet all these really high up people in the Rotary chain and everything else. We had them talking about what made (them) want to join Rotary to begin with, so we sort of learned how they became leaders themselves and how we can pushed ourselves to do the same thing, which was a lot of fun.”

Another Rotarian asked a question for each of the students, “If you take away one thing from the weekend, what would that be?”

Kristen Orsak answered, “Building connections with other people is very important.”

Jake Liker answered, “It’s not about what you know, but it’s about who you know.”

Kennedy Bush said, “Just learning to listen to everyone’s input so you can work together and get the job done.”

Rotary Club President Collin Mathews said, “That’s exciting. We’re glad you all had a great time and it was an honor to send some kids that are so passionate about learning about RYLA and Rotary and what we are all about.”

About Rotary Youth Leadership Awards
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) is an intensive leadership experience organized by Rotary clubs and districts where you develop your skills as a leader while having fun and making connections. RLYA benefits include connecting with leaders in your community and around the world, building communication and problem-solving skills, discovering strategies for becoming a dynamic leader in your school or community, learning from community leaders, inspirational speakers, and peer mentors, unlocking your potential to turning motivation into action and having fun and forming lasting friendships.

About Rotary
Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary's people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, they are always working to better our world, and we stay committed to the end. Rotary’s mission is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

January 25, 2020 - (Album) - Candidates for the upcoming election were present for a "Meet the Candidates" event held at the John D. Windham Civic Center in Center on Friday, January 24, 2020.

Many of the candidates had tables, which were stationed around the room, where they could be available to speak directly to their constituents prior to the main event.

Before the candidates took to the stage and began addressing the audience, Bro. Gordon Vaughn gave a brief sermon and gave an opening prayer.

A brief introduction to the event as well as the rules and regulations for all involved, including the audience, was given by Ruston Bush. Each candidate was then invited to the stage by J.J. Ford.

They then addressed the audience from the stage. Those candidates who spoke included: State Representative District 9 - Mark Williams; District Attorney - Stephen Shires (Incumbent), and Karren S. Price; Sheriff - Newton Johnson, Jr., Derek Barbee, Joey Hudnall, Tanner Peace, and Kevin Windham; County Commissioner Precinct 1 - Donnie Borders.

County Commissioner Precinct 3 - Stevie Smith, Willis Blackwell, and David Cheatwood; Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 - Donna Hughes; Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 - Melba Rodgers, Billy Barnett, Darrell Alford, Don Jones, and Sean Permenter; County Constable Precinct 1 - Ricky King, and Zach Warr (Incumbent); County Constable Precinct 5 - Josh Tipton, and Robert Hairgrove (Incumbent).

Each candidate had the opportunity to introduce themselves to the audience and share their political platform.

January 24, 2020 (Graduation Photos - Album1Album2- Center ISD celebrated the 2020 Winter Graduating class during commencement ceremonies last night, January 23rd. With 18 graduates receiving their diploma, the room was full of family and friends applauding their achievement.

Roughrider Academy principal Heath Hagler gave praise to the school's faculty and teachers whose hard work and determination to see the students succeed is commendable. They are: course facilitators - Virginia Fischer and John Jackson; reading intervention - Erica Klein; and instructional support - Beatriz Contreras Mendoza and Jody Stephens. Special recognition was given to Counselor, Cindy Tillery, by Hagler saying, "She is amazing and her contributions to the success to these students is immeasurable."

Before the graduates took their final walk across the stage for their diploma, representatives of the Roughrider Scholarship Foundation, Meg Camp and Lisa McAdams, presented $1,000 scholarships to the following students: Vanessa Arias, Tiffany Campos, Jose Cruz, Dylan Eddington, Alex Leon, Makayla Mayo, Yin Lin Oo, and Diego Salazar.

Then $500 scholarships from the Bone Hill Foundation were presented by Principal Hagler and Counselor Tillery to Vanessa Arias, Tiffany Campos, Jose Cruz, Dylan Eddington, Alex Leon, Makayla Mayo, Yin Lin Oo, and Diego Salazar.

M.J. Oliver, who is graduating with a distinguished level of achievement, made the student address saying, "There are many misconceptions about the school we go to and this evening I'm going to give you an idea of what our school really is and how blessed we have been to be able to end our high school career at Roughrider Academy. Roughrider Academy is usually seen as some type of alternative program for kids with behavioral issues but we are far from that. Roughrider Academy is like a breath of fresh air and eye opening for teenage life. A way to be able to go to work, to go to school, and start your life earlier than most if need be. Going to Roughrider Academy doesn't mean that a kid is bad or that they can't function in a normal school environment."

The speech continued giving praise to the administration and teachers of Roughrider Academy and their invaluable help they gave to the students to get them to this day. Oliver ended with a story covering the journey taken from freshman year and ending with Roughrider Academy, "I'm so happy that I had the opportunity to go to the academy and I am so happy about not only graduating early, that part is honestly scary, but to be able to have and hold the amazing experiences and the amazing memories that I do have... We are all just one big family making our way with what we have."

Congratulations to the Roughrider Academy Winter Graduating Class of 2020: Ingrid Vanessa Arias, Chadeja Keyunea Attaway, Jaydon Markeith Barnes, Jonathan Joan Bustos, Ana Cristina Camacho, Tiffany Anet Campos, Katlynn Marie Cox, Jose Jeronimo Cruz, Dalaysia Tanea Eaden, Dylan Pierce Eddington, Jarvis Ivan Hubbard, Zyrome Ladara Khourn, Alex Javier Leon, Makayla Carol Ann Mayo *, Mary Jo Lynn Oliver, Yin Lin Oo *, Diego Guadalupe Salazar, and Kyle Glen Wright. An * denotes a distinguished level of achievement.

To see the Facebook Live video broadcast by the school, click the following link - https://www.facebook.com/CenterSchools/videos/623178421850716/

Save the date for a county wide 'Meet the Candidates' event which will be held on January 24, 2020 at the John D. Windham Civic Center for local candidates. Doors will open at 5:00pm to the public and starting at 6:00pm candidates from throughout Shelby County will have a turn at the microphone for their opportunity to introduce themselves to you! Mark your calendar for this social event of the year!

Attention Candidates: An invitation letter is in the mail and if you have not received it and would like to register for the event, call 936-591-9334.

This is a free event to the candidates and to the public.

List of Candidates Who Filed for Place on 2020 Primary Ballots (Updated)

January 23, 2020 Waco - Baylor University has announced its newest class of graduates, who celebrated their achievement during fall commencement exercises December 21 in the Ferrell Center on the Baylor campus. Katie Michelle Williams, a 2013 graduate of Shelbyville High School, was among the graduates and she received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Film and Digital Media.

Nestled along the banks of the Brazos River in Waco, Texas, Baylor provides numerous educational and research opportunities across various disciplines through 127 baccalaureate programs, 78 master's programs, 46 doctoral programs, including a juris doctor, the education specialist program and the Master of Laws program.

Baylor students interact with outstanding full-time faculty from their first days on campus, with a student-to-faculty ratio of 13 to 1. The University's vibrant campus life also includes more than 300 clubs and organizations and varsity athletics competing in the Big 12 Conference.

The graduation news release and a complete listing of all graduates are available at the following link: https://www.baylor.edu/mediacommunications/index.php?id=87572.

January 22, 2020 - The Piney Woods Photographic Society held their regular monthly meeting Saturday, January 18, 2020, There was a workshop held on how to photograph Reds and Colors. ChThe monthly challenge "Photographer's Choice" featured photographs submitted by members for favorite votes and critique.

The PWPS meets every third Saturday of the month, at the First United Methodist Church, 211 Porter St., Center, TX. from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m.. If you are interested in learning more about your camera, better photography techniques or group photo shoots, we are the group for you. Visitors are invited to attend. Complete that dream of becoming a better photographer and come to our next meeting, the third Saturday of February.

For more information on meetings or membership, call or text, Billie Jones, 936-591-2426, or billiejones602@gmail.com

To view other challenge photos, check out our Flickr page https://www.flickr.com/groups/pineywoodsphotographic/, or "Like" us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/groups/PineyWoodsPhoto/ 

January Challenge: Photographers Choice

First Place Favorite - Melvin Henson

Second Place Favorite - Donna Holt

Third Place Favorite - Summer Harbison Koltonski

January 20, 2020 - Hana Bonner, a 2017 Graduate of Joaquin ISD, was named to the Fall 2019 Dean's List at LeTourneau University. The Dean's List recognizes students who have achieved a grade point average between 3.50 and 3.99 for the semester.

Bonner is a Junior majoring in Kinesiology.

LeTourneau University President Dr. Dale A. Lunsford said being named to the Dean's List is a significant academic achievement and honor.

"As the Christian polytechnic university, LeTourneau University attracts students who are among our nation’s best,” Lunsford said. “I anticipate that these honor roll students will have a positive and significant impact on our future."

LeTourneau University is the Christian polytechnic university where educators engage students to nurture Christian virtue, develop competency and ingenuity in their professional fields, integrate faith and work, and serve the local and global community. LETU offers more than 140 undergraduate and graduate degree programs across a range of disciplines and delivery models at LETU's residential campus in Longview, Texas, hybrid options at centers in the Dallas and Houston areas and fully online programs.

Claiming every workplace in every nation as their mission field, LeTourneau University graduates are professionals of ingenuity and Christ-like character who see life's work as a holy calling with eternal impact. For additional information, visit www.letu.edu.

January 16, 2020 - During the month of December 2019, Shelby County Outreach Ministries' (SCOM) Helping Hands provided 292 emergency food boxes which helped to feed 593 people and met the needs of 324. The Senior Site provided 391 congregate meals, Meals on Wheels provided 723 meals, and 491 frozen meals for a total of 1,605 meals were provided in December alone.

For the year of 2019, a total of 19,517 meals were provided, 3,399 emergency food boxes given away, 3,994 needs met, and 7,087 people fed.

Ways to Help: 

  • Food of the Month: Peanut Butter, Canned Meats, Ramen Noodle Soup, and Mac & Cheese. Please bring food items to the Helping Hands Outreach Center at 930 Shelbyville Street.
  • Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers are needed in each of our programs. For more infor-mation on any of the above, call us at 598-4990.
  • Volunteers for our Fundraiser Committee: We are always seeking individuals to help us pia' organize and help with fundraisers throughout the year. If you are interested, please call Sherri Harding at 598-4990.
  • Canned Food Drives: We are always in the need of canned goods. If you or your business would like to have a food drive, please contact us for more information. 

Ways to Support:

  • Website: shelbycountyoutreach.org
  • Amazon Smile: smile.amazon.com (Just select Shelby County Outreach Ministries, Inc. as your choice of charity and shop like always.) 
  • U.S. Mail: Send donations to Shelby County Outreach Ministries, Inc., P.O. Box 1029, Center, TX 75935. Ask us for other ways you can help support our ministry!

Fundraisers and Events

  • Upcoming Fundraiser: Raffle for 10x16 Steel Building. Tickets are $10 each or 11 for $100. Drawing on April 3, 2020. We are currently planning another fundraiser for the near future. We will keep you updated.

January 14, 2020 - Delta Kappa Gamma Society International supports educational endeavors of ladies in education. President Wendy Watson of the local chapter, Delta Gamma, recently presented a check to Stacy Barr to continue her studies in counseling. 

Stacy currently teaches at Tenaha Elementary. Delta Gamma presents a check each year to a deserving young lady in the field of education. 

We are proud to assist Stacy with her interest in counseling.

January 9, 2020 - Walter Bounds who has Bounds AV did a video of the downtown square giving everyone a birds-eye view of the progress of the construction as of January 8, 2020.

The video is labeled "Every Beautiful City Deserves a Beautiful Heart."