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Pryor Named DWS October Teacher of the Month

October 14, 2018
By: Bill Conger

A 25-year veteran of teaching, Lori Pryor, is the October Teacher of the Month at DeKalb West School.

“I feel honored and loved,” says Pryor, who is in her 26th year at DWS and third as the school’s computer teacher. In addition to her normal devotion and dedication to the job, the former third grade teacher volunteered to return to the third grade classroom again at the start of this school year while Rachel Desimone was on maternity leave the first nine weeks.

“I figured it was easier to get a sub for computer than one to set the tone for the beginning of third grade,” Pryor says.  “After about two weeks I got “my groove” back and loved it. I really will miss it.”

Still, she enjoys teaching the entire student body about the computer world.

“I get to connect to all of the students PreK-8,” said Pryor. “I was always afraid of the older ones, but actually they are my favorite age group. I also enjoy not grading papers all weekend.”

“Mrs. Pryor is always looking for and trying new tasks with her students,” says Principal Sabrina Farler. “She challenges them daily to help prepare for high school and careers.”

In addition, Mrs. Pryor teaches English as a Second Language and has returned to Cumberland University for licensing in that area. For the last six years, she’s served as an academic coach. She’s also worked the after school program for about 18 years and Read Night in the library for about 8 years. A few years ago her peers chose Mrs. Pryor as Teacher of the Year to represent D.W.S. at the county level.

Second grade teacher Whitney Brejle who was formerly a student of Mrs. Pryor remembers several fun events in her classroom.

“She let us have a wedding outside during play time for two love birds in the class,” Brejle fondly recalls. She also says Mrs. Pryor used to let them produce their own West school version of a newscast, and let the students take on the teaching role for one lesson at the end of the year.

For part of her honor, Pryor received a free meal from the White Possom Restaurant in Smithville.

Meanwhile, teachers have chosen the top students for October at DeKalb West School. Named to the prestigious honor were Jacob Blair, PreK, Presley Harrington, Kindergarten; Curtis Fox, 1st grade, Logan Winfree, 2nd grade, Devin Neal, 3rd grade, Emeri Barrett, 4th grade, Caitlin Shoemake, 5th grade, Bryna Pelham, 6th grade, Karly Vickers, 7th grade, and Madison Martin, 8th grade.

Students are chosen for traits that make them an excellent student like academic progress and excellent character.

13th Annual Edgar Evins State Park History Hayride Offers Storytelling and Fun (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

October 13, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

What could be more fun on a cool crisp fall day than a hayride coupled with a little history, mystery, and theater?

That’s what audiences were treated to Saturday during the 13th annual History Hayride at Edgar Evins State Park.

IMG_1905 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

After boarding the hay wagons, riders were taken on a two and a half hour journey throughout the park where along the way stops were made for costumed characters to share a story about a person or event of historical significance to the park or the community.

Among the characters was James Edgar Evins, portrayed by Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath. Evins is the man for whom the state park is named.

This year’s hayride also featured an appearance by Charles T. Burton who lived on the Caney Fork River near Table Rock Island, which today is near the dam. He was almost 30 when he witnessed the 1872 hanging of 17-year-old John Presswood for the murder of Rachel Billings, an event that remained vivid in his mind for the rest of his life. The role of Burton was portrayed by Carl Halfacre, former park manager.

Other characters (according to the program) were:

*Luke Denny, Illegal Moonshine Hauler, who was never caught by law enforcement, portrayed by attorney Gerald Melton, active in the Cannon County Arts Center.

*Ida Hale, midwife, portrayed by Marcia Melton, member of the Cannon County Board of Education.

*Elizabeth Dale, Black Widow of Hazel Green. A serial widow and daughter of Adam Dale, portrayed by Lori Christensen, retired Warren County High School Teacher.

*Amon Pack, Grave Digger, who exhumed graves for relocation to Mt Holly Cemetery before construction of the dam, portrayed by J.R. Tinch, Assistant Chief of the Tennessee State Parks, Junior Rangers Program.

*Milton the Moonshiner, whose real name was withheld as per a family request, was a well known local distiller of illegal whiskey, portrayed by Road Supervisor Danny Hale.

*William C. “Bill” O’Neal, Manager of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers who assisted with the establishment of Edgar Evins State Park, portrayed by William Freddy Curtis, Director of Cannon County Schools.

*Adam Dale, Revolutionary War soldier, early settler, and founder of the town of Liberty in the early 1800’s, portrayed by Charles Robinson, a descendant of Dale’s sister and a U.S. Postal Service employee in Liberty.

*Paleo-Indian Woman, who lived in the area long before the earliest white settlers, portrayed by Holly Taylor, wife of Park Ranger Mark Taylor.

In addition to the hayride, homemade cookies and brownies were offered for sale at the park office along with complimentary coffee and hot chocolate and there was a campfire in front of the office for roasting marshmallows.

The annual Hayride serves as a major fundraiser for the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park.

Paislee’s Foundation Craft & Home Show Raises Money for Families Coping with Stillbirth and Infant Loss (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

October 13, 2018
By: Dwayne Page

Since its beginnings in the fall of 2013, more than 50 families coping with stillbirth and infant loss have benefitted from the love and support of Paislee’s Foundation.

Established by Tyler and Jessica Cripps of Alexandria in memory of their daughter Paislee Cheyanne Cripps, who was stillborn on May 3, 2013, the foundation’s purpose is to support those whose lives have been touched tragically within the past six months due to stillbirth, infant loss, or child loss up to three years old. Through the foundation, families can receive funds to assist them with funeral costs or other expenses.

One of the annual fundraisers was held Saturday at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria. More than 30 vendors and a large crowd of shoppers participated in the Paislee’s Foundation Craft & Home Show.

IMG_1883 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

“We had just about anything your heart desires. We love this craft show because it offers many homemade items. Things made with a lot of heart and soul,” said Darcie Cripps, grandmother of Paislee

All proceeds from the craft show and other fundraisers, including an annual 5K and chili supper goes directly to the foundation, a 501c 3 non-profit organization.

Tyler and Jessica will soon be welcoming another child, much to the delight of a proud grandmother. “I have another grandbaby coming. Paislee would be a big sister to a little brother on the way,” said Darcie.

For more information about the Paislee story or to make a donation visit or follow on facebook for event information.

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