Southern Appalachia Schools

 Bill Torrey Grave Marker

It would have been labeled a failing school, but in the 1970s, the disingenuous scheme by which composite test scores for the entire student body are used to label schools as failing had yet to be devised. Like many elementary schools, here in Southern Appalachia, in the 1970s, relatively low enrollment forced the placement of students of varying academic ability functioning at, above, and below grade level into the same classroom. The one size fits all education model in practice, at the time, served some students well and failed others miserably. Student's outcomes in adult life have been as varied as levels of ability and academic functioning were then. In many ways, I became an educated person in spite of, rather than as a result of, my experiences there.

Realistically, every public school can be expected to produce students who score both high and low and everywhere in between on tests of academic functioning. Unlike private schools, public schools cannot screen prospective students. In all fairness, a low-test score on an academic achievement test may reflect a high degree of achievement for a pupil of limited ability.

The phrase “High Stakes Test” most likely was not part of the vernacular in 1931, but the concept held tragic meaning for one student. By all accounts, reported in the November 19, 1931 edition of The LaFollette Press, Bill Torrey had done well at LaFollette High School. The headline read “Popular Local U-T Student Ends Own Life”. A chemistry examination pad bearing a grade of “46” was found on his body.

Eighty-three years later, it is unlikely that efforts on our part could garner enough information to make a more definitive determination as to why he took his own life than the one offered by his family in The Press, December 3, 1931, “When it was decided that he could go to U.T. he was very happy, worked hard to master his lessons and when he failed to pass as he expected to, it crushed his intense desire to make good and knowing the sacrifice and sympathy and love that parents, brother, and sisters had made to help him, he gave up the battle.”

Speakers at Torrey's funeral included LaFollette City Schools Superintendent Pat Kerr, who described Torrey as a student who “dared to be different and dared to do his own thinking”. According to Kerr, “He cared for the realities of life and was a non-conformist” and “the faculty always loved Bill for his originality”.

LaFollette High School must have had an outstanding faculty in the early 1930s, because it has been my experience that students are often not “loved for their originality” much less for doing their own thinking. For example, one of my college professors required students to complete parallel readings and turn in a written summary. I assumed that included introducing topics, discussing them, and reaching conclusions about what had been read. Apparently, her expectation was that students would simply read the assignments and parrot back what they had read on paper, because she informed me after I had completed the assignments, that I was not qualified to reach conclusions on the readings. Apparently, her students, soon to teachers themselves, were to be expected to fly on autopilot, once out in the classroom, rather than thinking for themselves. Perhaps unknowingly she was preparing tomorrow's teachers for today's mindless testing and data compilation.

Students of all ages are under more pressure than ever to score well on tests. Compounding the problem teachers are expected to produce entire classrooms of high scorers. Compounding things even further, politicians and pundits are demanding the same of entire student bodies and entire school systems.

High Stakes tests are very much a reality of our day. No student of any age should be made to feel like an abject failure as the result of a test score. It is our hope that today’s parents and other influential adults will help pupils to keep things in perspective. Teachers, like the spectators to the parade, in the familiar childhood tale The Emperor’s New Clothes, dare not state the obvious when school administrators perform their magic using sticky notes and data boards.

This is an election year. Ours is the opportunity to insist on common sense rather than Common Core coming out of Nashville and Washington D.C.

Writer's Note. September is National Suicide Prevention Month.

Writer’s Note: Twenty-four-hour support is available from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or at suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The site offers a Chat with Lifeline service at the bottom of the homepage.

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Articles

Get Your Morning Mojo at Liquid Lightning

Liquid Lightning

It is a great time to be a coffee drinker in Maynardville. Whether you are waking up early headed to work, finishing up the morning school drop offs, or just plain love to guzzle coffee all day, with one sip you will be sure to add a new stop to your daily route. Liquid Lightning, a local veteran owned and operated coffee shop, has opened their doors and put the go-juice on to brew with a goal of bringing delicious coffee, lots of laughs, and a sense of joy and comfort to the community.

Win for Author Kaye George

Kaye George

Knoxville TN: Local author Kaye George took home a second place win from BOULD (Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring) for her short story Dream Girl. The story is published in BOULD Awards Short Story Anthology and is now available on Amazon.

Shirleys Bread

Shirley's Bread

I got a call from Aaron Russell the other day. He was checking to see how I was doing. He hadn't talked with me in a while. During the conversation, he mentions that he likes to bake bread. Not just any bread, but salt-rising bread. He described the process as well as how good the bread tastes. That got me thinking.

Ambulance Selfie

Ambulance Selfie

“Well, you always want an adventure!” Lynda locked the car doors.

It’s an interesting story how we had gotten to that point. Lynda is my best friend and cousin. We played ball together, ran around together, and went to the same middle and high school.

George Washington Cherry Treat

George Washington Cherry Treat

Fresh pie cherries aren't available in February. That's okay. Food City does my canning for me these days. They have one pound cans of red tart cherries on the shelf every day. I call them sour cherries.

Do you really think George cut down a cherry tree? Do you really think he fested up to the deed? Naw. George was known as a ladies man. I wouldn't be surprised if he did tell a lie now and then.

Science versus Faith

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal once said, “The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing… We know truth, not only by reason, but also by the heart.”

Pascal was a genius and a genuine polymath who lived in the 17th century. To cover his accomplishments and body of work would require volumes, which have already been written. I want to focus on the concept he so poetically illustrated above – the ever-present battle between the head and the heart. Specifically,

Cherry Creme Fudge

Cherry Creme Fudge

Here is a fudge recipe I made a long time ago, that is, if you call 1981 a long time ago. Fudge recipes have evolved over the years. They are easier to make now. Just cook up some sugar and evaporated milk. Add chocolate and marshmallow cream and you have fudge. But it is not the same as the old fashioned variety. Oldsters will agree with me. (I will share one of those recipes at a later date.).

Failed Back Surgery Is Relatively Common

Failed Back Surgery Is Relatively Common

Failed back surgery (continued low back and leg pain after surgery) is relatively common according to a new report from the Boston University School of Medicine. With each reoperation, success, as defined by pain reduction, becomes less likely and most patients do not improve. However, preliminary studies using a simple procedure to remove scar tissue or adhesions suggests a new treatment could help those with post-surgical, chronic low back pain.

The German Beer Stein

German Beer Stein

I have had a beautiful beer stein since World War II. My brother, Rodney, sent it back from Germany. He was part of a Navy goodwill tour that started at England then went on to Germany. He sent back two beer steins and a Black Forest coo coo clock from there.

When he returned home, Rod took back the coo coo clock and one beer stein. That left me with one beer stein. I have placed that beautiful beer stein in a prominent place in my home as I moved around the country. It is time to give it a permanent home while I am still here to do so.

Events

Interested in Homeschooling?

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 18:00

Join us for our annual Mom's night out. Monday, February 25, at six pm when April Shepherd, from the Smoky Mountain Home Education Association will be speaking at Hardees. April, a proponent of country living and a successful homeschooling Mother, will be speaking on using everyday living to teach fundamentals and life skills. She has titled her talk, "Little House on the Prairie Schooling". Sponsored by the local support group of homeschooling families, more information can be obtained by contacting Connie Dickey @ 865-992-3629

Mens Conference

Friday, March 1, 2019 - 19:00
Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church

Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting a Men’s Conference on Friday, March 1st at 7:00 P.M. and Saturday, March 2nd at 9:30 A.M.
Evangelists will be Rev. Jerry Vittatoe and Rev. Mike Viles. Pastor, Rev. Jimmy Davidson extends a hearty welcome to all men.

4-H County Baking Contest

Monday, March 18, 2019 - 17:00

After youth have participated in school during February, they will be awarded a blue ribbon to move forward to the county contest. The entries at the county will be due for judging on March 18 then displayed with awards at the Extension Month Open House on March 19 for sampling.

MPL Small Business Expo

Saturday, March 23, 2019 - 09:00

Small Business Expo
Hosted by Maynardville Public Library
296 Main St, Maynardville, Tennessee 37807
Saturday, March 23, 2019 at 9 AM – 1 PM
Our 3rd Annual Expo to showcase the many small businesses in Union County. Drop by to see what our county has to offer and support these local businesses.
If you are a business owner looking to attend fill out the following google form by March 15th

https://goo.gl/forms/pVrShemJAPtgzaiB2

Obituary

Franklin Delano Capps

Frank Capps-age 85 of Knoxville passed away Thursday morning, February 21, 2019 at U. T. Medical Center. Member of Warwick’s Chapel Baptist Church. He was a U. S. Army Veteran. Frank was a long-standing owner/operator of auto service garages in the Luttrell area. Preceded in death by wife, Ithel McHone Capps; daughter, Brenda Smyth.

Obituary for Mary Carolyn Childress

Mary Carolyn Childress, age 84 of East Knoxville, passed away Thursday, February 21, 2019 at her home. She attended Buffat Heights Baptist Church. She was a long- time employee of Supreme Contracting. She was the daughter of the late Carl and Frances Whitt, Proceeded in death by Jack Childress. Survived by brothers; Ronnie (Phyllis) Whitt, Tom (Jo) Whitt, and Steve Whitt. Several nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. Longtime friends, Mack and Lily Thomas and Bryan and Sherry Linander.

Janice Ann Beeler Fields

Janice Ann Beeler Fields-age 66 of Corbin, Kentucky passed away suddenly Monday morning, February 18, 2019 at her home. She was a loving mother, nana, sister and friend. She will be sadly missed by all. Janice was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church and was a former co-owner of Fields Apparel in Monticello, Kentucky. She was recently employed at SEKRI, Corbin, Kentucky for 22 years. Preceded in death by parents, James Aubrey and Lillie Beeler, two brothers, Gary and Terry Beeler; nephew, Adam Beeler.

Robert Bradley Douglas

Robert Bradley Douglas, known as Brad Douglas, was born October 12th, 1978. Brad spent his life in the Knoxville area embracing the Tennessee Volunteers, fishing and hiking. Brad's favorite thing to do was to take him and his family exploring. It is with great sadness that the family of Brad Douglas announces his passing at the age of 40. His spirit, enthusiasm and willingness to put other's needs above his own will be missed but not forgotten.

Robert Bruce Kezer

R. Bruce Kezer-age 84 of Knoxville departed this world for heaven on February 15 from his home. His family was at his side. Born in Jersey City, NJ, on September 30, 1934 to Edwin and Ruth (Adams) Kezer, Bruce graduated from the University of Vermont in 1957. He then entered the US Army and served, in peacetime, for three years until being honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant. Bruce loved Jesus with all his heart, and worked to live instead of the other way around.

Thomas Michael McLaughlin

Thomas M. McLaughlin age 57 currently of Maynardville TN, formerly of Edison NJ, passed away on February 8th 2019 at UT Hospital following an exhausting battle with cancer. Preceded in death by father, Thomas W, and brother Michael W McLaughlin.

Survived by wife Kathie, daughter and son-in-law Jennifer McLaughlin and Josh Lamb, son TJ, mother Elaine, sister and brother-in-law Lori and Gary Yurchak, grandchildren Chris and Michael, as well as a host of other relatives and friends.

Judson "Juddy" Bailey

Judson “Juddy“ Bailey - age 79 of Washburn, was born on February 27, 1939 and passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 10, 2019. We all called him Pap. He was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church. He loved his family, hunting, playing cards, dogs and driving around. He spent his last few months putting on his shoes and saying “I believe I will go home”. He is finally “home“, peacefully in the arms of Jesus.

Frances Jane Nichols

Frances Jane Nichols “Janey”, age 61, of Rockford, went to be with the Lord on February 8, 2019, surrounded by her loved ones. She was a beloved mom, sister, and granny. Preceded in death by parents Jack Huggins and Bernice Van Dyke, brother Jackie Huggins, sisters Sarah Munsey, Sandy Huggins, and Darlene Dunaway.

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