EastTexasNewsWebsite BannerAd

Log in
  • Tyler County deputies make arrests in Spurger area

    Richard Lyles Scott Sanford 2MUGSHOT Richard Lyles and Scott Sanford

    By Chris Edwards

    SPURGER – Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford reported that his office has been busy lately in the southeastern end of the county.

    Last week, TCSO made two arrests in two separate incidents, which resulted in multiple charges, including narcotics possession and stolen property.

    Last Monday, when deputies with TCSO were patrolling in the Spurger area in the late afternoon, they stopped a Ford Expedition on a traffic violation along County Road 4426. According to Weatherford, when deputies made contact with the driver, identified as Richard Lyles, a 40-year-old Kountze resident, they learned his driver’s license had been expired since 2012.

    When they searched his vehicle, they discovered a Remington 552 rifle and were notified that Lyles was a convicted felon, which, under statute, makes it illegal for him to possess a firearm. Also discovered in the search was a small, clear plastic baggie containing a crystalline substance, which field-tested positive for methamphetamines.

    The deputies took Lyles into custody, and transported him to the Tyler County Justice Center, where he was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm; possession of controlled substance and no driver’s license. He later bonded out with his bonds set at $10,000 by Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ken Jobe. Before Lyles left the jail, a Woodville woman was arrested when she arrived to pick him up.

    According to Weatherford, deputies saw Keiosha Rowinsky, a 29-year-old Woodville woman, drive into the Justice Center parking lot. They knew from previous encounters that she did not have a valid driver’s license and made contact with her. She admitted to the deputies she did not have a valid license and was placed under arrest.

    Deputies located two loaded syringes in her jacket pocket and purse, both of which field-tested postiive for methamphetamines.

    Several other items of drug paraphernalia were found inside her vehicle, Weatherford said, and she was charged with possession of a controlled substance and driving while license invalid. She later bonded out of jail on $5,000 bonds set by Pct. 1 Justice of the Peace Trisher Ford.

    The second incident Weatherford reported about in Spurger happened the next day, when deputies were patrolling in the early morning hours along County Road 4420. When the deputies on patrol approached CR 4426, they discovered two sets of small lights shining throughout a clear-cut section of the woods, according to Weatherford.

    The deputies then made contact with two individuals, whom they identified as Scott Sanford, age 39, of Silsbee and Rusty Mathis, of Spurger.

    Sanford was holding a Remington pump-action 30-06 rifle, and both men had small spotlights. “While checking the information on the rife, deputies learned that the rifle had been reported stolen in a late 2020 burglary that occurred in Colmesneil,” Weatherford said in a press release.

    Sanford was taken into custody and charged with theft of a firearm. At press time, he remains in jail with a $5,000 bond set by Jobe. Weatherford said he could face additional charges.

  • Tyler County’s Dogwood Festival planned

    Allie JarrottPHOTO COURTESY OF THE TYLER COUNTY DOGWOOD FESTIVAL DIRECTORS The current, reigning Dogwood Queen, Allie Jarrott.

    BY CHRIS EDWARDS

    WOODVILLE – The directors for the annual Tyler County Dogwood Festival have met and set in motion preliminary measures to produce the annual festival.

    Last year’s festival was postponed and re-tooled due to concerns with the pandemic, and instead of taking place over the course of three weekends in March and April, was limited to one date on the second weekend in June, still, the 77th annual Dogwood Festival was celebrated in Woodville. It was only the second time in the festival’s history that a drastic change had to be made. Throughout America’s involvement in World War II, the festival was cancelled.

    The festival’s executive director Buck Hudson, now in his 30th year of being associated with the festival, said that last year’s festival was the most challenging of any to produce, but that it was important to have the event for the youth of the county, and to uphold the tradition.

    According to a news release from the festival directors, the event has, for more than 80 years, allowed Tyler Countians the opportunity to “[pay] tribute to the glories of spring and the lovely dogwood trees.”

    Hudson and the directors announced that they are planning the full and traditional range of Dogwood activities, which will begin with Festival of the Arts weekend, on March 20-21, followed by Western Weekend on March 26-27 and concluding with Queen’s Weekend on Saturday, April 3.

    Along with all of the fun events that comprise those three weekends, the directors also announced the traditional historical play will commence. “This year’s historical play will go back to the very beginnings, as this is the 175th anniversary of Tyler County,” according to the news release.

    The theme for the festival, overall is “We are Tyler County: A Celebration of the Beginning.”

    At present, the selection process is underway to choose the new Dogwood Queen for 2021, with the first round of selection planned for Thursday, and subsequent rounds scheduled for Feb. 11 and 25.

    According to the directors, the contestants will be evaluated on the basis of beauty, poise and personality through individual interviews conducted by the Kingsmen Committee.

    The current, reigning Dogwood Queen is Allie Jarrott, who is the daughter of Cody and Joanna Jarrott of Woodville.

    She was a senior at Woodville High School when she was crowned and is now attending Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree.

  • VFDs fight Indian Springs fire (GALLERY)

                                   COURTESY PHOTO

    From Staff Reports

    Five volunteer fire departments responded to a residential fire in the Indian Springs subdivision Monday afternoon.The VFDs from Alabama-Coushatta, Indian Springs, Livingston, Onalaska and Woodville fought the blaze for 3-4 hours. Polk County Fire Marshal Jacob Chapman also was on hand.The cause of the fire has yet to be determined. The fire is still under investigation.

    DSC00576
    DSC00577
    DSC00579
    DSC00580
    DSC00581
    DSC00583
    DSC00575
    Previous Next Play Pause
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7
  • Weatherford named to Burke board

    Bryan Weatherford 020421 copyMUGSHOT Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – Tyler County Sheriff Bryan Weatherford was named to the Burke Board of Trustees as an ex-officio, or non-voting, member.

    The Burke network services the 12-county deep East Texas region, serviced by the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG) and provides mental health services. Weatherford, along with another law enforcement leader, Sheriff Jason Bridges of Nacogdoches County, were named to the board, with appointments resulting from Senate Bill 632 of the 86th Texas Legislature.

    The bill promotes cooperation between local mental health authorities and law enforcement by appointing sheriffs or sheriffs’ representatives, to their local governing boards as non-voting members.

    “I am honored to have been elected to serve as a Burke Center Trustee,” said Weatherford. “This position will allow me the opportunity to represent not only Tyler County, but all 12 counties in the DETCOG region.”

    According to a news release from the Burke organization, Weatherford was appointed to represent the smaller counties of the region and Bridges will represent the larger ones.

    “I want to make sure the citizens of Tyler County and East Texas continue to receive the necessary mental health care treatment,” said Weatherford.

    The Burke network was established in 1974 as the Deep East Texas Mental Health and Mental Retardation Services, as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization, which is governed by a nine-member Board of Trustees.

    The network has grown from a small organization, which offered limited services, into a major behavioral health provider, which serves more than 5,000 people annually, through a variety of services, according to its website.

  • Western Weekend: A hoot and a half (GALLERY)

    2021 Western Weekend 12JIM POWERS | TCB Rider falling off a horse at the Tyler County Rodeo

    Last weekend saw the traditional Western Weekend portion of the annual Dogwood Festival in Woodville. From the two-day Lions Club Rodeo to the parade on Saturday, the weekend was full of activities, sights and sounds for folks of all ages to enjoy.

    Here is a selection of some of the fun, from both the rodeo and the parade.

    Photos by Jim Powers

     

  • WHS speech and debate competitors excel

    Izzy NarvaezPHOTO COURTESY OF CATHY D’ENTREMONT Izzy Narvaez prepares to compete at Congress State Debate.

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – Students in Woodville High School have excelled in a great number of extracurricular pursuits throughout the years, with each endeavor preparing them for some sort of skill in life beyond graduating. A group of WHS students recently took home top-notch honors in a field of competition that is relatively new to the school.

    The sport of speech and debate is, in the words of WHS’s speech and debate coach Cathy D’Entremont, “the consummate academic activity”; one that uses research, analysis, critical thinking skills and a variety of other skills, for competitors to succeed. WHS’s speech and debate team recently took home the first-place honors in District-level UIL competition.

    D’Entremont, a seasoned speech and debate coach, has been involved in the world of forensics, for more than 50 years. From the time she started competing as a seventh grader in Beaumont, she was active throughout the rest of her student career as a speaker and debater.

    After graduating from the University of Texas, she began coaching in public schools, and coached a national champion in 1983 in Houston.

    When she began working at WISD, she said she began looking for students to debate, and a recommendation from a colleague bore her witness to a transformation. “A teacher suggested I recruit a student who was acting out,” she said. That student, whom she said was a “bright, articulate smart aleck,” was Drake Broom a 2020 WHS graduate, who became a standout success and went to state in Student Congress and Cross-Examination Debate.

    “He developed great leadership skills, stayed out of trouble and is now in the Marines planning to become a JAG (Judicial Advocate) and follow a career in law,” D’Entremont said.

    “I have seen the transformative power of speech and debate many times in my years as a coach,” D’Entremont said. “I remain lifelong friends with numerous former students who are professors, attorneys, entrepreneurs, physicians and CEOs.”

    The current crop of award-winning speakers and debaters at WHS includes Izzy Narvaez; Jaydee Borel; Zander Duckworth; Kyler Coleman; Riley Vaughan; Kirby Wright; Mollie Jarrott; Kesean Paire; Kevon Paire; Rachel Risinger; Conner Risinger; Adriana Stark; Savanah Ludwig; Tanyia Mitchell; Chase Gray and Cailee Stephenson. All of the students took home awards from the recent UIL District competition in their respective events. Team captain Narvaez won first place in Congressional Debate and has been to state two years in the event.

    As the speech and debate program at Woodville High School flourishes, D’Entremont said it is a great benefit, both to her and the student body. “Anything that helps make better thinkers, writers and communicators is a huge educational success,” she said.

    She added that the support of WISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg, along with WHS Principal Rusty Minyard and special programs director Terry Young, along with the WISD Board of Trustees, has been encouraging and supportive.

    “I feel blessed to have opened the door to this activity I love to the kids here,” D’Entremont said.

  • WISD coach Mixon dies

    2 Jennifer Mixon 031821FILE PHOTO Jennifer Mixon

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE –  Longtime Woodville ISD educator and coach Jennifer Mixon died last week at the age of 50.

    Mixon died on Friday at Lakeside Lodge in Brookeland. She had been fighting breast cancer for several years and undergoing treatments. WISD Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg said Mixon had, in more than 20 years with the district, impacted the lives of many and left behind “a legacy of strength, courage, caring and commitment.”

    A public funeral service is planned for 10 a.m. on Thursday at Eagle Stadium, with a graveside service to follow at 1 p.m. in Little Hope Cemetery in the Beech Grove community. WISD is cancelling classes on Thursday so that all students, staff and families who wish to do so will have the opportunity to pay their respects.

    “Please keep her family in your thoughts and prayers as we all mourn her loss together,” Meysembourg said.

    The athletic director of the WISD girls’ program, Troy Carrell, called Mixon “the backbone of our girls’ athletic program,” and said she will be greatly missed.

    “She has had the opportunity to touch countless numbers of students as well as teachers and coaches alike,” Carrell said.

    “Coach Mixon was a perfect example of what it meant to be a Lady Eagle. She always held everyone to high standards and expected only the best of what you had to offer both on and off the court,” he added.

    Education and athletic leadership ran deep in Mixon’s blood, as her late father, Jerry Ives, was a longtime respected and beloved coach at Elkhart High School. After his death, the school’s stadium was named in his honor. Her brother, Jason, has also served as a coach and administrator. Her husband Shawn has also served as a football and softball coach for WISD.

    In addition to her husband and brother, Mixon is survived by two daughters, Shelby and Emily and her mother Darlene, as well as numerous other family members.

  • WISD discusses first step in long-range planning

    SHP Donation 042221CHRIS EDWARDS | TCB Wheat Elementary students present a check to Brian and Deborah Smith of Sleep in Heavenly Peace. The students raised the money through a coin drive fundraiser.

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – At its regular monthly meeting, the Woodville ISD Board of Trustees discussed taking the first steps toward long-range planning involving its facilities.

    The district recently went out for request for proposals from architects and construction managers and received eight submitted proposals. Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg said that in reviewing the materials and conducting interviews, it will be a matter of finding out who will be able to suit the district best. “This is the initial part of seeing what firm best fits the district’s needs,” Meysembourg said.

    The board discussed the best method for reviewing the proposals and agreed to use a 10-day period for review, ranking and to schedule interviews on May 10.

    Meysembourg emphasized that in gathering the proposals and reviewing them that was the first step toward whatever the district might need in the future; that there’s been no discussion of any expenditures concerning the facilities or other infrastructure concerns, and that needs might change years down the road.

    Wheat Elementary students make presentations

    At Monday night’s meeting, the WISD board convened with a full boardroom full of Wheat Elementary students, faculty and parents. Several Wheat second graders and gifted and talented students made presentations. Wheat Vice Principal Allison Mosley and second-grade teacher Bridgette Stott introduced the students.

    The presentations by the second graders ranged from facts about flying squirrels to a discussion about what tigers eat. Stott said the students began their projects in March, with researching.

    The GT students presented a check to the Woodville chapter of Sleep in Heavenly Peace, which builds beds for children who do not have beds to sleep in.

    The GT students, through a coin drive fundraiser, raised more than $1,200 to give to the charitable organization. SHP’s Brian and Deborah Smith were on hand to accept the donation. Stott said the fundraiser was helpful in teaching financial literacy to the students.

    On behalf of the WISD board, Vice President John Wilson said the students’ efforts made the board, faculty and parents of the district proud.

    Other Business

    At its meeting, the WISD board also approved the following items:

    • The board approved a resolution regarding affordable broadband access. The resolution is one going through school boards across the state, Meysembourg said. She said broadband access has “a critical impact upon the education of our students.” The resolution will be sent to Gov. Greg Abbott and the state legislature.
    • The Texas Education Agency’s annual verification for TEKS certification was approved.
    • A two-year extension for WISD’s depository contract with Citizens State Bank was approved.
    • The next regular meeting of the WISD Board of Trustees is scheduled for 7 p.m., Monday, May 17.
  • WISD recipient of Temple grant

    student 5520411COURTESTY OF PIXIBAY student

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – The continuing pandemic has been especially tough on how schools carry on with the business of education. As part of the T.L.L. Temple Foundation’s efforts to address the issues East Texas school districts have faced, it awarded grants totaling $377K to 12 school districts, with each district getting $30K of the amount. Woodville ISD was one of the districts and district superintendent Lisa Meysembourg said she and the faculty, staff and administration are extremely excited to recceive the grant money.

    Meysembourg said WISD will utilize the funds to address instruction and achievement at all grade levels, from Pre-K through grade 12 “to ensure that all students have equitable access and opportunity to learn, progress and master learning expectations needed for future success,” she said.

    T.L.L. Temple Foundation President and CEO Dr. Wynn Rosser said that although educational inequities existed prior to the pandemic, “the most vulnerable students are bearing the heaviest burdens.”

    Recent studies have posited that the learning disruptions brought about through COVID-19 will only continue to widen underlying achievement gaps, and could ultimately prove detrimental economically, due to increases in dropout rates and reduced postsecondary education completion.

    “Research has shown that without an intentional targeted response to accelerate learning in reading and math in our schools, this event could impact the educational achievement and future of students for generations to come,” Meysembourg said.

    Meysembourg added that the grant funding will help give the district financial resources to provide additional focused instruction and intervention support services to meet the individual needs of the district’s student population in order to increase potential success in school as well as life after school.

    Specifically, she said that on the district’s elementary, intermediate and middle school campuses, master reading and math instructors will be hired as interventionists in order to provide targeted small group instruction to students who are identified as being at-risk, and to help fill learning gaps.

    Also, a summer credit recover program will be offered for WHS students, and the district’s teachers and staff will be provided ongoing professional development in order to strengthen their curriculum knowledge and to build skills toward helping students to recover from the pandemic’s impact upon their learning.

  • Woodville ISD approves goals; terminates remote learning

    Lisa Meysembourg 072320File Photo - Woodville ISD superintendant Lisa Meysembourg

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – The Woodville ISD Board of Trustees discussed and approved a pair of agenda items relating to district-wide goals and improvement plans respective to each WISD campus at its Monday night meeting.

    The first item up for discussion was the district’s revised goals, with respect to how they relate to the district’s own goals as well as meeting goals with regard to the sweeping House Bill 3 passed during the last legislative session. WISD Curriculum Director Ashley Weatherford spoke about this item, and where the district needs to be.

    “We’re at the point where we need to dig deeper,” she said, and explained that data is being looked at through the federally required metric of student achievement meeting the appropriate grade levels. She cited, as an example, data that showed WISD’s third grade as performing at 67% below the level for reading and 84% for math.

    Weatherford said one new goal set forth, district-wide, is the investment in technology infrastructure and professional development, and she added that in spite of the “COVID slide” throughout the second half of last school year and this year’s term, she has seen some “great wins” on each WISD campus.

    WISD campus principals each spoke to their respective campus improvement plans. Woodville Middle School principal Kevin Frauenberger said that his campus’s two main goals are to improve community relations through outreach and to improve student achievement.

    High school principal Rusty Minyard said his campus goals are focusing on two areas: reaching out and nurturing the student population in the low-income socioeconomic demographic for them to succeed and supporting his campus’s teachers.

    “I want them to feel good about coming to work every day,” Minyard said.

    Woodville Intermediate principal Bonnie Trammell said that her campus’s priority is to meet standards appropriate to grade levels and putting resources and energies into training teachers with flexible, data-driven plans.

    Along with the goals and improvement plans, the board also approved a one-time incentive payment for all WISD employees for their November paychecks. Superintendent Lisa Meysembourg said the incentive, which will be a bonus of about $300 per employee, is a way to recognize the hard work and dedication of the district’s faculty and staff during this school year with all of its changes due to COVID-19.

    In another measure related to the coronavirus, WISD voted to terminate remote learning. Board president Jimmy Tucker said that many of the districts in the region are dropping remote learning, and Meysembourg said “We just need our kids back in school.”

    Meysembourg gave an update from the Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath about remote instruction that gives school districts the latitude to either continue or terminate remote learning, but to give the option for those who must be quarantined due to compromised immune systems.

  • Woodville native finds ‘home’ in Polk County

                                   JASON CHLAPEK | PCE Polk County game warden David Johnson speaks at Livingston Lions Club Oct. 14.

    By Jason Chlapek

    Twelve years ago today, David Johnson began his career as a game warden in Polk County.

    And he doesn’t plan on leaving either. Johnson believes he has found his stomping grounds, which he talked about when he was a guest speaker at the Livingston Lions Club on Oct. 14.

    “I started (as a game warden on) Nov. 1, 2008,” Johnson said. “I worked as a laborer in Pollok prior to becoming a game warden. Polk County was my first duty station and will probably be my last. Polk County feels like home. It feels a lot where I come from. There’s a lot of good people here. Livingston is just big enough where it’s not too big.”

    Johnson grew up in Woodville. He also described why he enjoys living in Polk County.

    “I live just north of Corrigan and I came from a small town like Corrigan (Woodville) where you know everybody and everybody knows you,” Johnson said. “There’s a small town persona where folks can lean on one another and go to one another when they need help. I like the closeness of it.”

    During his 12-year tenure, Johnson spoke about the quantity and quality of hunting resources in Polk County. Deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 7.

    “In the last 12 years, the resources have gotten better,” Johnson said. “We’ve seen a great increase in our deer population as well as the maturity and health of our animals. I think it’s a contribution to the people of our county respecting the law, doing what is asked of them and practicing good stewardship of the resources.”

    Johnson also talked about his duties as a warden. He said that although most citizens obey the laws of hunting, fishing and boating, there are a few who need a reminder or two.

    “We’ve got a broad range of activity that goes on over here,” Johnson said. “You’ll have anything from criminal trespass or possession of narcotics to boating while intoxicated. Starting around March until September, we put in quite a few hours on the water. We have an extremely large lake one here and several rivers. On average, we spend 200-300 hours a year on the water. We have a little bit of everything around here. Some of the people I’ve encountered have found interesting ways to try and hide or dispose of what they did. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to stumble across those things, and sometimes we have a little help and it’s just blind luck. Sometimes the grown adult almost acts like the elementary school kid who gets caught playing in the bathroom. We’re all human and we all make mistakes. The biggest majority of the people we deal with are good people who are out recreating and having a good time. They’re involved in sports that we regulate and they’re very respectful people. All of the bad things you hear about consist of 1 percent of the people. We have a lot of good people here and that’s why I want to be here.”

    When it comes to hunting or water activities such as boating or fishing, Johnson said there’s balanced participation and interest among them. He also thinks this season will have a little more participation with hunting because of Covid-19.

    “We have a good mixture of popularity among hunting and water seasons,” Johnson said. “Any given year, it can teeter one way or the other. On the years that they have droughts, we may get more water contacts, but that’s because of something going on. This was a benign water season. We had a few accidents, tragedies and BWIs, but we had a healthy amount of boat traffic. I expect to see more hunters because it’s an isolation sport. Boating and being around the lake is people being more in crowds.”

    And he hopes to patrol the land and waters of Polk County for another 12 years — or more.

  • Woodville’s Wise signs with Sul Ross

    DQuincyWise021121PHOTO COURTESY OF WOODVILLE ISD D’Quincy Wise, seated – center, on signing day. Wise signed on to play for the Sul Ross University Lobos.

    By Chris Edwards

    WOODVILLE – For high school athletes hoping for the opportunity to test their mettle at the collegiate level, the first Wednesday of February is a day of anticipation, as it is National Signing Day.

    One Woodville High School senior has signed on to play college football last Wednesday. D’Quincy Wise, who played both ways for the Eagles as a tackle, during his high school career, will go on to play for the Sul Ross University Lobos.

    The 5’11”, 285-lb. senior is set to graduate in May, is planning to major in kinesiology, and has a goal of becoming a coach.

    Upon signing with the university, Wise wrote on social media that he is “blessed to commit to Sul Ross and become a person on and off the field.”

    Sul Ross is located in the west Texan locale of Alpine, and their athletics program is part of the American Southwest Conference West division, which also includes schools like McMurry, Hardin-Simmons and Texas Lutheran. Wise will play under the direction of Lobos head coach John Pearce.

    As an Eagle, Wise was part of a powerhouse team for his last season, which found them achieving bi-district champion status and finishing third in UIL 3A Division 1. Wise also played basketball for the Eagles and competed in the shot-put event in track and field.

    He was named the Defensive MVP in district when all-district honors were named. In 2019, he was named first team defensive tackle.

    A social media post from Woodville ISD congratulating Wise stated “We can’t wait to see you on the field as a Lobo.”

  • ‘Wit’ challenges notions about life and death

    OAP Kids 032521PHOTO COURTESY OF WHS THEATRE The cast and crew of Woodville High School’s One Act Play entry “Wit” is advancing to UIL Regionals and officially placed in the Top 32 in the state of Texas. Adrianna Stark received Top Performer; Madison McGinty got All Star Crew and Tatum Chandler earned an Honorable Mention Cast award. The cast and crew will compete for advancement to the State competition on April 17.

    By Jacob Spivey

    Saturday March 20, Woodville High School Theatre competed at the Bi-District One Act Play Contest. After a convincing performance that won district the week prior, this week’s contest would select the best performances from Bi-District to compete at the Regional Contest in Houston April 16.

    Woodville’s selection by Director Melanie Spivey, is scenes from the Pulitzer prize winning play Wit. Wit is the story of Dr. Vivian Bearing, and her death from ovarian cancer. Over the course of the play, Bearing reflects on her life which she has dedicated to the study of metaphysical poet John Donne.

    Throughout her career, Bearing has developed a reputation as a harsh intellectualist, preferring knowledge to kindness, throughout the play, as she realizes that she if of interest to her physicians more as research than as a person, Vivian finds a new appreciation for humanity and kindness.

    Wit is headlined by Adiranna Stark’s rendition of Dr. Vivian Bearing. Stark, who received Top Performer honors at both District and Bi-District, captivates the audience throughout the performance, never leaving stage she is unequivocally the star of the show and shows tremendous range. In the course of 40 minutes, Stark showcases Bearing as a force of nature in the classroom lambasting students who have no passion for poetry, a graduate student still unsure of her convictions, a child learning to read, and woman dying as she grapples with the reality of death. Stark’s performance as a woman who has studied the humanities only to find that it is in her death, not her life, that she finally understands the depth of what it means to be part of humanity is both breathtaking and awe-inspiring.

    Joining Stark on stage is an ensemble that includes Joseph Ratcliff playing Dr. Harvey Kelekian, Tatum Chandler as E.M. Ashford, Savannah Ludewig as Jason Posner, A’Nijah Betts as Susie Monahan, and Zachary Woravitz as Vivian’s Father.

    Chandler, who was awarded as an All-Star Cast Member, joins Stark in showing a wide range as she and the crew backstage does a masterful job of showing Dr. E.M. Ashford in her prime as Vivian’s professor while in graduate school, and then thru the force of makeup and costuming she ages 30 years to return to the stage as Vivian is dying to provide comfort and love that Vivian has so desperately needed.

    Other standout performances included Savannah Ludewig as young medical resident Jason Posner, who along with Bearing, learns that there is more to people than just research. Ludewig showcases a depth of understanding of her role as she embraces the intellectual complexity of remaining professional well having compassion for her patients. Susie Monahan RN, played by A’Nijah Betts plays opposite Posner, as a nurse who is long on compassion, and truly tries to provide comfort and dignity to Vivian as she fights, and ultimately loses, her battle with cancer.

    Other members of the cast include Madison Benthall, Alexis Lee, Taniya Mitchell, Brianna Gilbert, Gladys Abbey, and Elizabeth Mullins, who provide support in a variety of strong roles that bring the story of death to life. Crew members include All-Star Stage Manager Madison McGinty, Lights Mckenzie Perkins, Sound Theta Drake, Katelyn Jasper, Brek Wagon, Jeremy Waldrep and Kesean Paire.

    While the crew may be behind the scenes, it should not be lost on those who come to see this show, that the lights and set for Wit were by far the most complex showcased on Saturday. This show, directed by Melanie Spivey and assisted by Donna Blackerby, was truly a delight that challenges our assumptions about what it means to die, and live with dignity.

    Woodville One Act Play will next perform in Houston at the Regional Contest on April 16. By Advancing to this level, they are already ranked in the Top 32 3A plays in the state, in April, they will compete for a place on the stage in Austin for the State Competition and a top eight finish.

    At this time a public performance is being planned for the near future and trust me when I say you don’t want to miss an opportunity to witness fantastic theatre right here at home.