Rochelle School Notes

Recently as I was driving from Rochelle to Brady to attend a funeral, I passed the 10 minutes or so it takes by thinking about the man whose funeral I was about to attend and how some people become saints after they die. You know what I mean. Rest assured no matter how big a clod you are, we will always be able to find something good to say about you when you die. I thought to myself as I drove, that this would be one of those rare times when instead of struggling to think of good things to say no matter how hard we tried we would never be able to find the right words to describe or pay enough tribute to ‘Buttermilk’. If there is a battle for souls going on between God and the devil like we sometimes see depicted in the ‘scary’ movies then God is up there cheering his head off because he just scored a big one for our side! Gilbert Currie, AKA “Buttermilk,” touched so many lives it left us all struggling, as I know Rev. Sheldon Johnson was Wednesday morning, trying to describe such a great human as Gilbert. I did not know Gilbert as long as many of you but in that short time, I came to truly love him. As assistant principal at Brady Elementary six or seven years ago, Gilbert came into my office one day to visit about something or other, and I was telling him how great a job he was doing, (which he always went above and beyond to do) and he replied by saying that he felt bad that he couldn’t do as much as he did when he was younger. He was afraid he was moving slower and he wasn’t as strong as he once was. I said ‘ Gilbert, you just don’t get it do you’ We would keep you here if you couldn’t do a lick of work. We hire role models.’ We had what we called ‘DEAR’ that year, which stood for ‘Drop Everything and Read.’ At a particular time during the day, everyone would drop what ever they were doing and read for 10 or 15 minutes. The first time we did it I walked down the hall and there was Gilbert sprawled in the hallway with his back to the wall, flat on the floor and six or eight kids lying all over him and he was reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’ aloud to them. This is the picture of Gilbert I will always remember. I am not ashamed to say he taught those kids way more than I could or any teacher on staff could. We will miss you Buttermilk, as Sheldon said Wednesday morning ‘Well done, good servant, well done.’ I hope you folks out in Rochelle didn’t mind while I took a minute away from Rochelle School news to say something about Gilbert, there are too few like him to let them leave without folks knowing what they meant to us. He made me a better man by his example and I know I am not alone. Back in Rochelle’we are off to another smooth start to what we know will be a great year. As of this writing, we have 185 students. This is up from 170 at this time last year. We are hoping to near the 200 mark before we dismiss again for the summer. As most of you know, we are in the process of building a 5,000 square foot field house, complete with a classroom, weight room, coaches offices, home and away lockers and public restroom facilities. Unfortunately the amazing amount of rain we had this spring and summer have put us well over a month behind. The Aug. 31 completion date has turned into a mid-to-late October completion date. We are patient, but we cannot wait to see it completed. This is quite an investment for Rochelle at just over $400,000 which will be paid for from our fund balance and will help alleviate a shortage of classrooms, get rid of some very outdated and less than adequate locker room facilities and some much needed public restroom facilities. Beginning, hopefully with the Sept. 14 game at home against Blanket, when asked where our restrooms are during the football game, I won’t have to be embarrassed to say ‘we don’t have any.’ We not only have some new facilities (soon) but we also have some new faces as well. We lost Ann Moseley this summer, after 31 years in Rochelle she decided to bug Kyle all day now (kidding of course, Ann) We all know Kyle is still working. We also lost Kay Fortson to retirement, Darren Carter to Bangs ISD, Will Baker to retirement, and Ginny Pontius to retirement. We have hired Raul Sancez from Mason as high school Spanish teacher, Kristi Lewis, from Brady as fifth grade elementary, Don Halbrook, from Walnut Springs as band director, Rena Jones, from Perryton as home economics teacher and Jeremy Hanks from Brownwood as high school math teacher. We lost some amazing teachers but we gained some amazing ones as well. Rochelle, like many schools in our area, were rated ‘Academically Acceptable’ this past school year from the Texas Education Agency. As most of you know, the accountability system for public schools in Texas has undergone considerable change in the past few years, with more to come and it has become increasingly difficult for all of us to earn the higher ratings we had grown accustomed to. We don’t make excuses here in Rochelle and we don’t dwell on the past, we just lace up our boots and go back to work. As we discussed with teachers during the first day in-service recently, ‘acceptable’ is not acceptable here and we will do what we need to do to get those ratings back to ‘recognized’ and on to ‘exemplary’ where we all know they belong. On a brighter note we have once again been rated as ‘superior’ on the school’s FIRST rating which rates our financial stability and effectiveness and we have met AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) from the Feds on their rating system as we have since its inception. So good things are happening at Rochelle and we look forward to doing even better this year! In the ‘extra-curricular’ realm of our world, we are going to have a lot to live up to. Last year was nothing less than phenomenal in every area of extra-curricular activity. We got a state champion in track and we came very close to the same in girl’s basketball, falling just a few games short. Our tennis players excelled as well as our golfers and academic contestants. We were 100 on every drug test taken last year and we will hopefully repeat that great feat this year. We missed the playoffs in football by one game and we will contend for a playoff spot again this year. Coach Dennis seems to be pleased with what he is seeing on the field so far but the real test will come Friday night in Richland Springs at 8 p.m. when our season opener will be against the Zephyr Bulldogs as part of Richland Springs Kick-Off Classic. Come out and support your Hornets this season as we try to out do last year’s phenomenal year.

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