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Trinity County News - Breakout

History of Groveton Independent School District 1895-1978

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Editor’s note: The following are excerpts from a research paper prepared by Frank Minton, GHS teacher, while doing graduate work at Sam Houston State University, Huntsville, during the summer of 1978. Minton relied on personal interviews of local people, Flora G. Bowles’s “History of Trinity County Texas, 1827-1928,” Carl A. Brannen’s “History of Groveton,” and 37 volumes of “The Tomahawk” yearbook, and “Records of Trinity County.” This is the second of two pieces.

Red Branch, Antioch, Sulphur Springs, and Pine Island were the only totally African American districts in the county. The other school districts, including Groveton, provided separate facilities for African American students.

With annexation and the changing trends in education, the four-story brick high school building, which was constructed in 1915, was insufficient for the student body. Because of its poor design, it had much wasted space. The octagonal shape caused many nooks and corners, the stairway caused loss of room the center of the building was principally unused space, and there was no gymnasium at all.

The stranded mill population, which did not have anywhere to go when the sawmill stopped, was without work until the WPA came in to being. The Groveton School Board launched a great school building program to utilize the available WPA labor and to make the much-needed improvements in the school plant.

A gymnasium, agriculture and shop building, and homemaking cottage was constructed. The high school building was demolished and a new modern rock building was erected. All of this work was accomplished by NYA or WPA. Native rock dug from the ground about six miles west of Groveton was used in the construction of these building which are still in use in 1978.

The African American school was still housed in a frame building, but efforts were made to improve their program. Vocational agriculture and homemaking were added to the curriculum. The African American school was affiliated and ran nine months of the year, as did the white school. The African American school had a faculty of 14 teachers, the number required for their 426 students.

The main concern of the 40s was the pressing issues of World War II and recovering from post-war problems. The Groveton schools participated in the defense program through aircraft spotting, selling of bonds and war stamps, and the local teachers registered individuals to receive their ration books. The African American school also operated a defense shop. Very little change took place in the education system during these times.

During the tenure of Mr. Emory S. Starkey as superintendent, the Pennington Schools were consolidated with the Groveton School in 1958, bringing with its faculty and student body, some outstanding academic and athletic talent. At this time, the Groveton Schools were known as the Groveton Independent Consolidated Schools.

In July 1964, Mr. James T. Coker Jr. came to Groveton as superintendent, and under his guidance, integration began in 1965-66 and was completed during 1966-67. The smoothness with which the people of both races effected this transition has been the envy of many schools.

During the 20-year span between 1958 and 1978, education has become more specialized. Many new programs were added to the curriculum, such as auto mechanics, building-trades, cosmetology, and federally funded programs. As a result of these new programs, many additions and changes have taken place in the Groveton School faculty. The Groveton Independent Consolidated School District became known as Groveton Independent School again in 1970.

A self-evaluation of the Groveton Independent School District, at the request of the Texas Education Agency, was begun in 1975, which determined that the greatest need of the district was to construct a new facility to serve kindergarten through grade eight with a cafeteria and gymnasium to serve the entire student population.

Due to the finding of the self-evaluation, the Board of Trustees of the Groveton Independent School District, by unanimous vote, called a bond election on Oct. 21, 1978, to determine the will of the people of the district. The bond election to issue $1,350,000 in bonds carried by approximately a two-to-one vote.

The building was completed and put in to use for the school year 1978-79. It provides climate- controlled classrooms for kindergarten through grade eight, including the necessary support facilities such as science laboratories, library and remedial laboratory. Included in the structure also is an ultra-modern gymnasium and a cafetorium which will the serve the entire student body, kindergarten through grade 12.

The Groveton Independent School District now serves the patrons of an area covering 602 square miles in the heart of Trinity County. Its tax rate is $2 per $100 evaluation. The assessed value is 50 percent. The Groveton School district has an estimated valuation of $14,970,000. There are 669 students enrolled for the year ,1978-79 — 449 in kindergarten through grade eight and 220 in high school. The faculty and support staff total 62.

Groveton is proud of its schools and proud of the fine citizens who have gone out in to the world and proven themselves to be great men and women, making important contribution to their community, state, and nation.

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Library a source for many services

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GrovetonLibrary GraphicYour librarian thinks that most of Trinity County is in the dark about what our library and the Trinity Library can help them accomplish. Our library has a student from Sam Houston State University who comes here to complete his homework online. Another junior high student from Groveton ISD comes to the library to complete her homework on most days. Many come to complete the government forms and print out insurance cards, etc. that is required for their everyday needs. In January, people will start coming to use the computers to file their income taxes. Your librarian says all this to make the point that we need our library and we have outgrown our present space. We are looking for a building that will meet our growing needs. If you know of anyone who is willing to donate to help with this goal. Please send them our way.

Texas Workforce Solutions will be in the library on Tuesday, Oct. 18th from 1 to 4 pm. There are new services that are available for employment if anyone is interested. There is a hiring event for Veterans, Military and their spouses on November 3 at the CL Simon Recreation Center in Nacogdoches. It starts at 10:00 am and ends at 2:00 pm

•Our New Library Building Fund total is $2,807.53 and the pennies are starting to show up at the library. Your librarian has tired but happy fingers. It will take everyone saving pennies to reach our goal of 1 million pennies. That goal will happen and I believe it will be soon. Your librarian will be reaching out to all organizations in our area in the near future to ask for their help.

•We have several fundraisers that you can help the library to be a success. Handmade greeting cards were donated to the library by Mrs. Fleck, and they will be on sale for $1 each. If you need a greeting card, then look no further than your library. The library will have another greeting card class on Wednesday Oct. 26, and Thursday, Oct. 27, from 3-5 p.m. If you are interested, please call your librarian.

•The library is having a fundraiser for our new library building. The tickets are $5 per ticket. There will be three chances to win. The first item is 114 volumes of Louis L’ Amour leatherbound books which are a$1,000 value. The second item is a volume of “Journey to Jubilee, Groveton, Texas, USA,” a $100 value. The third item is three books written and signed by Janet Batchelor, our local author and they are “Al & the Owligator,” “Princess, Fred Frog and the Thing on the Log,” and “Fraidy Fox” with a $50 value.

All ticket sales will go towards our New Library Building Fund. The drawing will be held on Dec. 22 at the Library Christmas Open House. If you would like to purchase tickets, please call the library at (936) 642-2483 or come by the library between the hours of 1-6 p.m. Your librarian will also be at upcoming events to promote our library. Please stop and visit if you see me in your area. You do not have to be present to win.

•The library offers copy services and fax services and Notary Public services.

If you are aware of any person that is homebound and cannot get to the library but would like to have books to read, please call the library. We will work on a time for delivery and pickup of books if someone shows interest. This is your library. Please let me know how I can be of service to you.

Our hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m.

Story time is at 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. ESL class is at 2 p.m. Friday

The library phone number is (936) 642-2483, and the location is in the rock building just east of the courthouse.

Cathy Czajkowski is director of the Groveton Public Library.

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The real most wonderful time of year is here

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The winners of the Trinity Peninsular Chamber of Commerce 42 tournament held during the Trinity Community Fair are (from left) Mary Barnett and Wanda Riley, first place; Marian McMillan and Jim Hill, second place; and Goodie Kelly and Ivy Phillips, third place. The group won over 34 participants. Courtesy photoThe winners of the Trinity Peninsular Chamber of Commerce 42 tournament held during the Trinity Community Fair are (from left) Mary Barnett and Wanda Riley, first place; Marian McMillan and Jim Hill, second place; and Goodie Kelly and Ivy Phillips, third place. The group won over 34 participants. Courtesy photo

Julias TidbitsMy favorite month is finally here. We have so many community events during the month of Oct., and I can’t wait to attend as many as I can every weekend until Oct. 31, which ends with “Treats on the Street” Candy festival on Elm Street at 6 p.m.

This past weekend, Friday, Oct. 7, was Homecoming for the TISD students and more about that will be in another column.

This weekend, Saturday, Oct. 15, the First United Methodist Church’s Pumpkin Patch opens. Its Saturday hours are 9 to 5 p.m. and the Pumpkin Patch closes on Monday, Oct. 31, at 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday, the patch opens at 3:30 p.m. and closes at 6:30 p.m. each day, and on Sundays, the hours are 12:30 to 4 p.m. Donations are the customary procurement.

Picking a pumpkin for carving whether you’re visiting the Pumpkin Patch or buying one from the produce department, it is always fun to find that perfect pumpkin. Here are 5 tips for selecting a winner, courtesy of the 2022 Old Farmers’ Almanac:

· Look for a pumpkin that has a deep orange color.

· Knock on the pumpkin to check that it is hollow (and therefore ripe).

· Make sure the bottom of the pumpkin isn’t soft and mushy. Also, the bottom should be flat, so it doesn’t roll.

· Check that the stem is firm and secure. Never pick a pumpkin up from the stem. It may break, which leads to faster decay.

· Avoid bruised pumpkins and look for a smooth surface if you’re carving. It will be much easier.

•Our neighbor to the north is having their yearly Texas Mushroom Festival on Oct. 15, in Madisonville Texas. It starts at 10 a.m. and is over at 5 p.m. The festival is hosting a photo contest, an art contest, a kid zone, a 5K run, and an auto showcase from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. There will be vendors and craft booths that will be giving away free mushroom fajitas during the festival. The public is invited to attend.

•Also on Saturday, Oct. 15, Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church is hosting a Fall Festival at the church starting with dinner at 5 p.m. and Bingo games beginning at 6 p.m. Many great prizes to be won on Saturday and Sunday. The festival starts on Sunday at 11 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m. For more information call Melinda at (832) 525-5536.

•On Oct. 19, The Trinity Lions Club’s guest speaker will be Marjory Pulvino, who is on the board of the Trinity Hospital District. The meeting starts at noon, and her program will follow the luncheon. The public is invited to attend. Please call Julia for reservations at (936) 537-8171.

•On Monday, Oct. 17, First United Methodist Church will host its monthly Spaghetti Dinner at 4 p.m. with the usual Italian menu. The cost of the meal is paid by donations. For more information, please call Laura at (936) 594-3856.

•On Saturday, Oct. 22, the SAAFE House Purse Bingo Fundraiser will be held at the VFW Hall located at 400 Caroline St.. This is a new location for the 7th Annual Purse Bingo Gala and the public is invited to attend and support this great cause, which provides a safe place for women, men, and children who are battling domestic violence.

The doors open at 5 p.m. and the games begin at 6 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at $40 each person, or you can purchase a table for 8 persons at $400 each. 10 Bingo card games, dinner, dessert, drinks, door prizes, and one drink ticket is provided for each participant. There is a silent auction, live auction, and 10 Bingo games with outstanding prizes for the winning players. Five Designer purses are the main attraction for the ladies, with three additional purses available for auctioning during the evening festivities.

A $500 Gift Card, a handmade work bench, a designer man’s jacket, and other donated gifts are available to win for the other five Bingo games. Food, fun, door prizes, music, and some special awards will be presented this evening to two of our icons in the community. Please call Rana Wingo at (936) 594-6415, or Julia at (936) 537-8171 to make donations, purchase individual tickets, or make table reservations.

•On Thursday, Oct. 27, the Boys and Girls Club will host the annual Halloween party for its members. Candy, food, games, and a children’s costume contest will start soon after the children arrive at the club from school and sign in for the day. The Trinity Lions Club donated a Halloween basket as a raffle prize for a parent or a student to win for the Halloween party. Each student will be given a free ticket, but they may purchase additional tickets for one dollar each or 6 for $5.

The Boys and Girls Club started in 1999 and we are lucky to have survived the COVID-19 virus financially. The students are still fortunate to have an after-school facility to attend, have adult supervision, volunteer mentoring, and TISD homework assistance. This is all due to the monetary support from the Trinity Community residents. The Trinity Club is grateful.

•On Saturday, Oct. 29, the Veterans of Trinity County are hosting the 15th Annual Fundraiser and Tailgate Party for their “Wall of Honor” Society at noon at Scheelbillies, located at 5665 FM 356, with food, music, games, raffles, and door prizes. Pulled pork sandwiches are $5 and the Fish Fry plate is $10. for more information, please call Bill Reeves at (936) 661-7107.

•Also on Saturday, Oct. 29, there is another event that the older students in Trinity might like to attend in Huntsville, Texas. Our neighbor to the south, is hosting an event called The Haunted Trails. It is their 7th annual Haunted Trails and is located at Kate Barr Ross Memorial Park in Huntsville from 7:30- 11:30 p.m. (486 TX-75 N).

I believe the Martin Senior Citizen will be having a barbecue fundraiser one Saturday in October, but I am not sure of the time, place or price. Stay tuned.

•On Saturday, Nov. 5, the VFW Post 6899 on Caroline Street is hosting a Bingo Extravaganza Fundraiser for the Boys and Girls Club of Trinity with the doors opening at 11 a.m., and the Bingo games starting at 1 p.m. Food, games, and a silent auction will be held during this time. For more information, please call David Lavassaur at (936) 594-0778.

•November dates and events are filling up fast, so I am going to mention some old and some new time and dates with details next week.

· Nov. 11, Hamburger Supper, WWS Club House, Toys for Tots

· Nov. 12, Veterans Appreciation Banquet at Burning Hope

· Nov. 12, Founders Day Celebration at the Trinity Community Center

· Nov. 13, MHTCC Shrimp Gumbo Dinner at 401 Prospect Dr.

•The third segment of great things happening at TISD are listed here:

Students can earn 21 dual credit college hours while in high school at no cost to them. Trinity ISD pays 100% of tuition and books. This is almost a year of college earned while in High School.

(This was an outstanding achievement my son obtained when attending Texas A&M University the first semester with an almost sophomore ranking, but we had to pay for the High School courses in 2000). They also can receive 15 certifications while in high school that he or she can use for employment once they graduate. Certifications include:

Ag. Food and Natural Resources-Feed Technician in Cattle Care/Handling. Ag Food and Natural Resources-Texas State Floral Assoc. Level 1; Architecture and Construction -NCCER Core Digital Communications-Adobe Photoshop Cert Digital Communications -Adobe Premiere Pro Certification Digital communications-Adobe Animate certification Business Marketing, and Finance-Microsoft Office Suite-Specialist Word Health Science Certification EKG/ECG Technician Health Science-Medical Coding and Billing Specialist Health Science-Patient Care Technician Health Science-Phlebotomy Technician Health Science-Pharmacy Technician Culinary- SERV Safe Manager Culinary- SERV Safe Handlers Manufacturing-AWS DLI.1, 2F, 3F (Structural Steel) Manufacturing-AWS D9.1, 2F, 3F, or 2G (Sheet Metal)

Next week, last report segment will be on teachers and employment.See you at the MHTCC Festival on Sunday.

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Fair sets new records

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GC SteerGRAND CHAMPION SWINE - Jase Fortner, Warren FFA

By Jacob Spivey

The Tyler County Fair is an annual event that centers around the first full weekend in October. However, even if the show was on last week from Wednesday to Saturday, there were plenty of rehearsals and setups beforehand and after.

The Tyler County Fair Board puts on this program and President Bronson Grimes called this year a resounding success. One key thing that is important for me to remember is how many moving parts it takes to get something like the fair rolling. It’s so much more than a livestock show, there are programs like the Home Economics Divisions that saw big winners in baking, art, sewing, and other divisions. A favorite of mine is the Ag Mechanics Division, a growing program of our fair that sees young people show off their welding and woodworking skills to produce home-made products. And of course, no one has ever complained about how good the fairgrounds smells during the barbecue cook-off, which saw Woodville FFA hoist a trophy on Saturday night.

All-told by the time we finished the livestock auction on Saturday night more than $375,000 had been raised in support of kids between the livestock, home economics and ag mechanics auctions and the behind-the-barn sales, including a new Fair Record $109,997 that went towards the steer projects in the livestock auction, including Grand Champion Lily Read of Chester who took home $18,000.

The moments and memories make the fair so much more special than the money ever could though, and we had plenty of memories. Wins and losses can teach us so much, and we saw some of both over that four-day period in October where lives are changed. Since transitioning from County Agent to Ag Teacher, I experienced something that was a totally different kind of memory. While I occasionally had a senior or two in the 4H program, it was usually just a few, as most high school age kids transitioned to FFA. This year advising FFA members I had a whole contingent of seniors experience one of their first “lasts” of senior year with their last chance to participate in the Tyler County Fair. The memories of these young people celebrating the end of part of their childhood was certainly a special thing to be a part of.

We had numerous awards given including a new award called the Legacy Showman award, these seniors in high school had shown at each Tyler County Fair they were eligible, since they were in the 3rd grade. Natalie Standley took home the R.A. Jernigan Award for displays of leadership throughout multiple fairs. Natalie was also a Legacy Showman and exhibited the Reserve Champion Swine.

Caleb and Megan Swinney were the top cattle breeders in the county this year, putting three steers in the sale and having numerous wins in the breeding cattle divisions to secure that win for the Swinney Cattle Company when it comes to raising animals right here at home that are competitive and correct.

This was my eighth year as a member of the Tyler County Fair Board, and marks nearly 20 years that I’ve been associated with the fair in some way, and I believe that I can say with near certainty this year was one of our best. There are dozens of people to thank, but I’ll end by sharing what I believe is the most special memory I’ll cherish of this year’s fair.

I’m often proud of our young people, but I had an outside perspective this week that made me feel good about Tyler County. For the past several years, we’ve had a passionate agriculturalist named Megan Dunn serve as our fair photographer.

She has done a fantastic job, and in discussion that I hope she stays with us forever, she told me that she planned to, because Tyler County was such a special place to her. Not only because we were some of the first folks to hire her when she opened her business and trust her, but because she always enjoys how polite and welcoming the people of Tyler County are. She said it’s one of her favorite fairs because she always feels like family when she’s among us here in Tyler County.

There are plenty of voices we could listen to in this ole world that would tell us how bad things are, in the world, in the country, and even right here in Tyler County. Well, this last week, I saw the cream of the crop, the best of the best and the very future of Tyler County on display at the fairgrounds, and I can say without reservations, Tyler County is already pretty great. We’ve got great young people, fantastic volunteers, and supporters, and then when you hear from someone like Megan, you realize that it’s not just that we are good to those who are from here, but that we embrace those who come to make a positive difference. I’m proud to call Tyler County my home, and I don’t know if I could ever express how much I appreciate our county coming together to celebrate our roots and real hometown values in support of agriculture.

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Board approves calendar change

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Groveton ISD logo 250By Tony Farkas
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

GROVETON — The Groveton ISD Board of Trustees set spring break a week later to give all students and staff the opportunity to use the break.

Superintendent Jim Dillard said that at the Sept. 26 meeting, the board moved the week from March 19-25 to March 26-April 1.

Dillard said that the original date overlapped with District UIL competitions, and many of the high school students and teachers would have to be in school to compete.

In a related matter, the board approved the application for a CTE minutes waiver.

Dillard said that CTE students have to attend 450 minutes of specialized instruction every 10 days; and it was possible that with the 4-day schedule that was approved for the second semester that students would not meet that requirement.

If that happened, it would affect funding, and Dillard said they wanted to be careful.

“Right now we are in compliance, but you never know what the state will do, so I asked to submit waiver request,” he said.

In other business, the board:

•Discussed purchase of 14-passenger bus;

•discussed Limited English proficiency. The district has 14 students who are actively in the ESL program, and 53 students who are being monitored to see if the services are needed;

•approved an agreement for shared services. The district is part of a cooperative for special education that serves two counties and seven districts, and if there is a student that needs those services, they are available; and

•added Dillard as signatory to the school’s accounts.

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