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Cross Country Teams Head to State

October 15, 2018
By: Bill Conger

The DeKalb Middle School Cross Country teams are headed to the  state competition after Saturday’s Mid-State Regional Middle School Qualifier held at Macon County High School. The girl’s team placed 2nd overall out of 10 teams while the boys came in 4th overall out of 11 teams.

“This is the first time in the four years since the program has been in place that both teams have qualified at the same time,” said Coach Kristen VanVranken. “Qualifying for the state meet is always our goal from the time we start training in April. Its a huge accomplishment, and they deserve it.”

The top five teams at the regional meet advanced to the State Championship meet which will be held at Victor Ashe Park in Knoxville on October 20.

Coach VanVranken says both the girls and boys teams displayed a tremendous team effort.

“They are truly an amazing bunch of student-athletes,” she said. “There are so many factors that take place when a team steps on the line, just like in many sports: the weather, the terrain of the course, the health of the athlete, whether they are sick or dealing with an injury.  Many times in racing you don’t get the perfect scenario. You can train and train for weeks, and it all comes down to race day, putting forth your best effort with whatever you may be dealing with. The DeKalb Middle School Cross Country team did just that.  They each rose up to the occasion and put forth their best despite any obstacles they had.”

In the boys’ varsity race, three runners made the top 20 out of a field of 102 runners: Aaron Gottlied, 3rd; Cooper Brown, 16th; Caleb Gray, 19th followed by Andrew Tramel, 53rd; Cale Brown, 54th; Jaxon Humphrey, 56th; and Kaleb Spears, 81st. (Spears normally places in the Top 5 but was under the weather for this race.)

In the girls’ varsity race three runners also placed in the top 20 out of a field of 84 runners:

Zoe Keys, 4th; Katherine Knowles, 5th; and Madeline Martin, 17th followed by Mylie Phillips, 26th; Laina Winfree, 30th; Emily Young, 47th, and Summer Morse, 48th.

In the JV race the teams had some “awesome personal records” for the season. Here’s how they placed at the regional meet: Sylvia Evans, 10th; Sadie Morse, 22nd; Alexa Hernandez, 25th;

Mara Oakley, 42nd; Liam Wallace, 18th; Erick Hernandez, 23rd; Jackson Hodges, 33rd; BJ Mosley, 35th; Ethan Spears, 38th.

“Our girls’ team is very unique,” says VanVranken. “We are very young but have proven ourselves throughout the season.  To have a varsity team of 6th graders qualify for state is extremely rare and exciting!  They are a tough bunch of girls putting out some fast times.”

“Our boys team has depth as well, adds VanVranken. “We will be losing several 8th graders who have had an extremely important role in our success, but our 6th and 7th graders have proven themselves this season.  They have been a huge contribution and show much potential.”

The runners have wrapped up their hard training for the season.

“This week will be tapering off some to have rested legs for Knoxville,” VanVranken said. “It will consist of only one speed workout on Tuesday. The rest of the week—Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday— will be easy distance runs.”   



DeKalb Band Class AA Champs

October 14, 2018
By: Bill Conger

The DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band is the overall Class Double-A Champion after taking first place Saturday in Chapel Hill, Tennessee. The 36-member band won top honors at the Middle Tennessee Small Band Championship. Judges scored D.C.H.S. third out of all the bands. Band Director Tracy Luna says the band was also judged on how well it performed among all the Division II bands that were there with a school population of 1,000 or less.

“We also collected a grand division winning trophy for all the Division II bands, which is terrific,” Luna said. “The band scores were superior ratings all the way across. Color guard and percussion did well, but we were in the middle of the pack. Overall, we scored 2s with percussion and color guard. The percussion judge gave out only one superior all day.”

“I’m very proud of the kids,” Luna adds. “My whole mantra this year has been small band proud and being the best they can be. No matter what the score ends up being, put the work into it and results will come out of it.”

Drum major Axel Rico was first place in the Double-A division and third place overall with a score of 95 out of the 15 participating bands.

The band is off for the second week of Fall Break. Next, the band travels to the Foothills Classic in Seymour, TN on October 27.

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.

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