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

A Universe of Stories

Maynardville Public Library Director Chantay Collins and Assistant Mandi Suddath

Maynardville Public Library has kicked off their Annual Summer Reading Program, A Universe of Stories. Reading is made fun with creative ways to earn prizes, rewards, and many perks of online programs. All ages are invited to join in on the program, youth and adult.

Tripping and Rolling

For most people, it would be a traumatic and possibly dangerous experience. To me, it was another one of my unexpected trips. Pun intended.

It happened at the end of gym class my sophomore year of high school. We didn’t dress out that day, instead we played a game of no rules basketball. When the first dismissal bell rung, I ran back up to the very top of the bleachers to get my folders. My friends and I had been sitting up there before we joined into the basketball game.

Salty Baked Potato

Whenever we are grilling out, I hate to take space for baked potatoes. Yes, they taste great cooked on the grill, but there is an easier way to do them. Just dip them in egg whites, sprinkle with coarse salt and pop them in the oven. The egg white holds the salt crystals in place and seasons the potato. You might think that is too much salt, but it isn't. Don't eat the skin if you have a problem with salt, but I do because I don't. They look pretty on the plate as well.

Childhood Memories (Not Made in Tennessee)

Hi Oh Silver, Away!!!

I was looking at an old picture not too long ago and it was like having a time machine. The picture was of me in cowboy get-up. At the sake of dating myself, I loved the old westerns on TV: Rifleman, Wagon Train, Maverick, Death Valley Days, Zorro, the ones in black and white, during what some call the Golden Age of Television. There I am in the picture, my best sheriff pose, gazing into the camera on Christmas morning. This was in Alaska; Ft. Richardson, to be exact.

The Ultimate Head Fake

Faceoff

I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about a concept known as “deepfakes”. The term comes from combining the concept of “deep learning” with the word “fakes”. It’s one of the latest emerging technologies to burst onto the scene, and you should be worried about it.

Bean and Pasta Salad

There are a jillion bean and pasta salads out there. They are all a little different and good, too. This one is a bit different from the rest. The celery is partially cooked. The onion is marinated in white vinegar. All of that does make a difference. Try it and see what you think. You can use any combination of canned beans, even add green beans, if you like. Mix it up.

David McCollough Celebrates 30 Years

David McCollough, State Farm Agent

In June 2019, David McCollough celebrated thirty years in the insurance industry. David is a State Farm Agent in Maynardville, Tennessee. He grew up in South Alabama with hardworking parents who taught him the importance of working to achieve your goals. David graduated from Troy University with a Bachelor’s of Science Degree. He has three children who live close by in beautiful East Tennessee; Jake, Abby, and John David.

George Jones Tribute Concert

This Saturday, June 15, clear your calendar and take a beautiful drive into Sharps Chapel for an evening of music and festivities at the George Jones Tribute Concert. The fun filled, family event will be held at the Sharps Chapel Community Park from 6:00 – 9:00pm with festival seating, so don’t forget to bring your lawn chair!

One of My Stunts

It seemed like any other Sunday afternoon. That was until Sara and I hopped out of the car.

Down the back driveway, my stepfather Dick came barreling toward us in his truck. He and my mom lived behind us on top of the hill. I realized he had been watching and waiting for us to arrive back home from chirper choir. That told me something had happened.

The first thing I noticed was that my mom wasn’t with him. Fear and uncertainty slowly crept up my spine. Had something happened her? And if so, why wasn’t Dick with her?

Events

Wine and Wreaths

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00

Thursdays just got so much better!
Join us at The Winery every Thursday for
amazing drink specials and exciting activities.

In June, join us for a fun Wine and Wreaths event.
During this class, get ready for 4th of July by crafting a wreath while enjoying a glass of wine. Various ribbons are available so you can make the wreath your own. The class is only
$25 and includes all the materials needed as well as the glass of wine. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling The Winery at (865)745-2902.

Union County Board Of Education

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.

REGULAR WORKSHOP UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2019 6:00 p.m. Union County High School

Agenda

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

CEASE inc., Paint and Pour

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 18:30

CEASE, inc. will be hosting a Paint and Pour event at Seven Springs Winery at 6:00 PM on June 28th. Participants will take a painting class while sipping on wine. The cost of the ticket includes the painting class, all supplies needed for the class, and the first glass of wine. Tickets are on sale for $45.00. Tickets are limited, so get yours today! We're going to have a great time and this event benefits a great cause, providing assistance to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault! Call 865-745-3002, connect with CEASE inc.

Obituary

Helen Fousteen Bailey

Helen Fousteen Bailey-age 94 of Washburn went to be with the Lord Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at home. She was a member of Liberty Hill Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Victor Bailey; son, Charles L. Bailey; parents, Loren and Dollie Helton; brothers, Howard, Earl, Ralph and Billy Wayne Helton.

Jenny Lou Holt Byrd

Jenny Lou Holt Byrd, age 88, of Maynardville, TN passed away on Monday, June 17, 2019. She was a longtime member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Jenny enjoyed scrapbooking, crocheting, and gardening. She is retired from K-Mart after 27 years. She is preceded in death by husband of 68 years, Charles Byrd; mother Grace Fortner Holt Chamberlain and father Clifford Holt.

Charles Edward Green

Charles Green – He often said, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” And on June 15, 2019, Charles Edward Green, loving husband and father of two children, went to Heaven at the age of 70 in Maynardville. Charlie was born on January 15, 1949 in Kingsport, Tennessee to Roy and Willnette Green. In 1970 his son, Johnathon Edward was born. He married Kimberly (Kim) Jones 31 years ago and raised one son together, Samuel Roy. Charlie had many passions including motorcycles, 60’s & 70’s R&B music and hamburgers.

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers-age 74 of Sharps Chapel passed away Saturday, June 15, 2019 at Claiborne Medical Center. She was preceded in death by husband, Marsillus Isaac (Skeeter) Rogers.

Survivors: son, Joe Rogers, daughter, Angela Buege; granddaughter, Kelly Buege; instant granddaughter, Jennifer Housewright.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending at this time. Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville in charge.

David Wayne Tolliver

David Wayne Tolliver-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went to be with the Lord, Friday afternoon, June 14, 2019 at his home with his wife and family at his side. He was a member and Deacon of Leatherwood Baptist Church. Retired employee of Union County Highway Department and also had a love of farming, hunting and fishing. Preceded in death by parents, Andrew and Lillie Tolliver; parents-in-law, Bob and Ethel Buchanan; sister-in-law, Shirley Tolliver.

Tyler Wayne Atkins

Tyler Wayne Atkins-age 24 of Luttrell passed away Friday, June 14, 2019. He was preceded in death by mother, Misty Dawn (Nankervis) Atkins; brother, Matthew Atkins; grandfather, Jerry Nankervis; special grandmother, Bonnie DeVault.

Survivors: father, Chris Atkins; sister, Gracie Nankervis; grandparents, Gary and Phyllis Atkins; grandmother, Connie Condry; papaw, Jimmy DeVault; uncles, Jimmy (Julie) DeVault, Jr., Shawn and Shea Condry, Jerry and Cory Nankervis. Several cousins and other family members.

Audy B. Keck

Audy B. Keck-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with cancer Thursday evening, June 13, 2019 at his home. Audy had a testimony of faith in the Lord, Jesus and was of the Baptist belief. He was a member of the Union County Rescue Squad. Preceded in death by parents, Warmer and Linda Keck; brothers, W. T., Joe, Jimmy and Harley Keck; sister-in-law, Nancy Keck; brothers-in-law, J. B. Stansberry and Jim Hayes.

Dorothy "Dot" Knott

Dorothy “Dot” Knott began her new journey June 13, 2019 with family at her side; Leaving behind daughters, Virginia Smothers (Mark), Deborah Hill, Lisa Gerard (Jeremy), step-daughter Donna Fisher, treasured grandkids and great-grandkids, as well as, her beloved Rocky Hill Baptist Church family and many other special friends. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Monday, June 17, 2019, at Rocky Hill Baptist Church with service to follow at 7:00pm, Dr. Scott Whaley officiating. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at Rocky Hill Cemetery for an 11:00am interment.

Erwin Lynn Berry

Erwin Lynn Berry – age 64 of Sharps Chapel, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, June 9, 2019. He was a member and deacon of Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church. Erwin was an employee of Pilot Corporation for 38 years.

Eva Jean Lawson

Eva Jean Lawson – 59, born August 18, 1959 to Cecil and Thelma “Judy” Branham in Welch, West Virginia, passed away June 11, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. She married the love of her life, Roy E. Lawson in Monroe, Michigan on June 22, 1984. She was a nuclear security officer at Fermi II plant for 23 years and also a security officer at Monroe High School for 8 years.

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