Thursday, May 30, 2013

And Now, The Last Week


The last dance has turned into the last of everything. The last of Colten’s official time with us is one day away. He will always be our grandson, but for the past three years he has been a member of the household as well so he could finish school at Muleshoe High School. These past two weeks have been full of last-time things. You might notice this week’s blog is a bit late-I’ve been busy attending all those last events and getting ready for the biggest one tomorrow night: commencement.

Even though we were present for the athletic banquet held on May 2,  we did not make all the end of year celebrations, like the band and choir concerts and other banquets I was unaware of because Colten might not have been involved in them, but these last two weeks have been busy.


There was the FFA banquet on May 21st. I had not been to an FFA banquet and rather enjoyed it. We had a meal, learned about FFA, met this year’s officers, installed next year’s officers, heard about the year’s accomplishments, and were pleasantly surprised when Colten was awarded an FFA scholarship.

As each new officer is installed, the outgoing officer symbolically passes on the hat of the office to the new officer.

Caleb Wood, Colten, and Chris Cage worked on a trailer this year in ag class and won blue ribbons with it at San Angelo and San Antonio.


IMG_0039Next was the National Honor Society new member induction on May 23rd. Current members took part in the ceremony, Colten is a current member, so we were there for that.


Then one of the really important programs for Muleshoe students is the academic awards night, held this past Tuesday, May 28. I have taken part in many academic awards program as a teacher (“The circle of Life Moves Right Along,” June 27, 2012), and also as a parent when Caroline and AJ were students at MHS, and even though the evening sometimes runs long, I enjoy watching the kids be rewarded for their hard work. Colten received a certificate and a pin for the President’s Award for Educational  Excellence, which requires good grades but also good character and citizenship, and we were proud of him for that. Later in the program he received a blanket with the Muleshoe High School insignia for maintaining a GPA of 90 or above for all four years of high school. Then Mr. John Gulley draped all the National Honor Society graduating seniors with their NHS collar (Alas, I can’t remember exactly  what it’s called-feel free to correct me on that.) and that is always impressive.


So in the morning is the senior breakfast followed by graduation practice, and then they will all exit their high school careers in a blaze of glory at commencement tomorrow night and an all-night parent-sponsored party called Project Graduation. Chances are excellent you just might read about all that in next week’s installment.

Stay tuned.

For a complete list with pictures of all the Muleshoe High School graduates and their individual accomplishments,  see the May 30 edition of the Muleshoe Journal for a special graduation section.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Last Dance

IMG_1947Saturday was prom night, the next to the last hurrah for Muleshoe seniors. Graduation being their final flourish, of course. Which also meant it was Colten’s last prom, and it was my job to preserve it forever in pictures.

And I was looking forward to documenting the night when disaster struck: the flash on my camera died. Just kaput. Boom. Nada. Was I upset? Pretty much. I could still take outdoor pictures and tried some indoor, but as I have said before, my inside photography skills are still a work in progress. And while I have made some progress, I wasn’t crazy about having to rely on that progress for an event that can’t be done over. So while I do have some pictures to share with you, I am not real pleased with them.

It was when I went up to school late in the afternoon to take a few pictures of the decorations before the kids arrived that I discovered the camera breakdown and the fact that the junior class parents, the party in charge of the prom and banquet, hired a party company to do all the hard work this year. Well, how fair is that? As a class sponsor when I was teaching and then as a parent, I went through decorating for these two events more than once, and at more than one location, at least three times at the civic center, which was a monumental task because the building is huge and tall, and then at the school cafeteria before all the modern  remodeling went on. Decorating for prom comes under the heading of the what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger theory, so I figured everyone needs to build character and learn patience and tolerance by spending way too much money  and time and turning the everyday into a wonderland just like we did in the past.





IMG_1942Then upon further reflection and looking at the cafeteria’s transformation, I figured it was really the smart way to go. If you have ever had the opportunity to do the decorating, you know what I am talking about. The work falls to the few parents willing to get involved, and then you have the headache of gathering all the materials needed and making it all work. The parents were still responsible for the cleanup and cooking the meal for the banquet, but their job was much easier by hiring the company, and the results were more professional-looking. So, not such a bad way to go after all.



IMG_2000Colten’s date, his girl friend Stormi, lives in and graduated from Sudan, right down the road,  and they attended her prom last year, planning to attend Colten’s this year. and that’s what they did. Here, however, the rule is that the junior-senior banquet is a celebration for just Muleshoe students, and so Stormi was not able to attend the banquet. We won’t get into the pros and cons of this rule right now, but they honored it,  and we did pictures at the house before and after the banquet and then they went to the prom.

IMG_1982The couple chose to color-coordinate with black, while, and silver and looked stunning, I must say.

IMG_2003Between banquet and prom Chris and Caleb came home with Colten to pick up Stormi, and I took this picture of the three friends wearing the sunglasses that were the party favors from the banquet.

After the dance, they changed clothes, which I thought was a mistake, they looked so nice and had paid so much to look that way! But that’s kids.They and a bunch of others set off for Clovis to finish off the night. Colten got home around 4:30 after taking Stormi back to Sudan. I asked him what in the world they found to do all night in Clovis and he said they ate and visited at the I-Hop and then wandered around in Wal-Mart, of all places! Window-shopping for stuff to take to college, I guess.

But they made it home safe and sound and said they did enjoy the banquet and prom, danced a lot and made some good memories.

IMG_1944And I do have plenty of items for the scrapbook, so I think the night was a success.

So one era ends and another begins Now in a few years it will be up to the other grandkids to enjoy their proms.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Irene and the Muleshoe Youth Advisory Council

IMG_1649Irene Mason was recently named Beta Sigma Phi’s Woman of the Year, in part because of her work with the Youth Advisory Council that she began three years ago, which mirrors the Muleshoe city council. I attended their last meeting of the year Monday to see how the youth council works.

But first, some background. Irene, who is active state-wide in city government associations, saw some youth councils in other cities and decided Muleshoe could benefit from one as well. But with  a difference. What she saw were youth councils that were basically service organizations, something more akin to our SCAC (Student Community Action Club), who have projects throughout the year. What she envisioned was an actual youth version of city council, providing the kids with the opportunity to really learn about how city government works.

The council is composed of nine high school students who go through an interview process to be a member. The current council members address the eight grade class near the end of the school year and tell them what the council is all about. The kids who are interested sign up and then go through an interview conducted by Irene, city manager David Brunson, and city secretary LeAnn Gallman. The experience of being interviewed is a life skill that they can benefit from later on as well. Once they are accepted, they have the option to remain on the council for the duration of their high school careers. Irene, with input from LeAnn Gallman, and David Brunson,  match each student with a city council position. The students then carry out the duties of that position in their meetings and even shadow their counterparts outside the council meetings to learn more about what that person deals with in relation to city government. This year’s assignments were: Mayor Stephanie Infante; Mayor Pro Tem Kayla Preston; Council members Marissa Hernandez, Katie Lovell, and McKenna Dunham; City Manager Garrison Myers; City Secretary Allegra Mora; Police Chief Grey Johnson; and Public Works Director Blayne Shipman.

Pictured with Irene Mason are YAC members Kalie Lovell, Garrison Myers, Kayla Preston, Grey Johnson, Marissa Hernandez, Blayne Shipman, and Stephanie Infante. Not pictured are Mckenna Dunham and Allegra Mora.

The YAC, as they are abbreviated in the meeting’s minutes,  meet an hour before the actual Muleshoe city council and work through the same agenda city council will address, as well as some of their own projects. Then they are present for the actual city council meeting that follows and give a report on what they did at their meeting with regard to any projects or issues they discussed. Sometimes they are also asked for input on issues city council has to deal with, especially those that would affect school-age children, like the proposed juvenile curfew. The adult members of the council assured me that the kids’ insight is always valuable and some of the questions they raise are thoughtful as well as thought-provoking, which helps city council determine their decisions on some matters.
When the kids spend outside time with their city council counterpart, they are awarded CEUs (continuing education units) for their efforts, which, besides learning about the real duties of that position and how continuing education works in the business world, also gives them valuable community service involvement to show on resumes and college applications.
The YAC meeting is conducted just like the real thing, opening with a prayer, the pledge to the flag, following their agenda, and using correct Parliamentary procedure, all real life skills that will serve them well later in life. Pictured here left to right are McKenna Dunham, Kayla Preston, Stephanie  Infante, Kalie Lovell, and Marissa Hernandez. The other council members are seated in the audience and at the city manager’s table, not shown here.
Garrison, Stephanie, and Marissa, the three graduating  seniors leaving the council this year are the last members from  from the inaugural group, which makes their departure bittersweet for Irene, who has appreciated their leadership with the council these last three years.
Thanks to Irene’s vision, Muleshoe is blessed not only with a city council, but a companion city council that is training tomorrow’s leaders to be informed and educated about city government, involved and effective good citizens of the future. Our future.
Not a bad deal, I must say.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Marathon That Is An Athletic Banquet

IMG_1672Muleshoe High School held its annual athletic banquet May 2. We, of course, went as grandparents of one of the athletes, but also to support and recognize all the kids who participated in sports this past school year. And that is a bus load of kids! I don’t know how big schools do it, but small towns don’t want to leave anyone out, so sports banquets are not for the faint of heart.

Trophies and senior posters were set up for viewing as people came in for the meal.


Ours starts with a catered meal, which is also a fundraiser for the booster club. The athletes get their complimentary plates first, and then the rest of us go through the line. After the meal, everyone moved from the high school’s commons/cafeteria area to the auditorium for the Senior Spotlight and the athletic awards.


I went to the banquet prepared to take pictures since Colten would be in the senior spotlight and was up for the golf MVP award, but alas, for some reason forgot my little notebook for taking notes.Then tonight when I unfolded my scribbled-upon program, I was dismayed to find it an unusable mess. So for a complete look at all the winners, I refer you to , the May 9th and May 16th editions of the Muleshoe Journal, or .

The golf team.


But I can tell you that Colten Harris was named golf’s MVP for the second year! Colten also has the distinction of qualifying for regionals all four years of his high school career. But if you follow the blog, you already knew that. Grandmothers, however, reserve the right to bring it up again…

Delton Wilhite and Coach David Wood.

I can also tell you that the first award presented was the Legends Award, an award that goes back to 1999 when it was first presented to Bill Taylor and George Washington-Coach Washington, not President Washington (see “Coach Washington 1925-2010,” February 3. 2010)- in honor of their unconditional loyalty and encouragement of all Muleshoe athletes. This year the award honored Delton Wilhite, who makes all Muleshoe athletic events, reporting on them for the newspaper and the Muleshoe Sports Network, and wouldn't do it if he didn’t enjoy what he was doing.


Something else Muleshoe does, other schools may do also, is have what’s called Senior Spotlight which lets the audience get to know a little bit about the the activities and aspirations of the seniors. Some of the things the audience learns about the seniors include his or her parents, extra-curricular activities, sports involvement and honors, plans for their future, and favorite sports memory.


Some of the kids relish the spotlight, like Jaxiel Lopez; others, like Colten, are just glad when it’s over.

The 2012-13 Bi-District champion football team.

The whole thing started at 6 p.m. and I think we walked out a little after 9. Some years it lasted till 10 p.m. But if you are looking for something to do in the spring, like sports, and don’t want to cook, consider buying a ticket and going. Teenagers are fun to watch, and they have achieved some impressive feats. Test your endurance and learn about the movers and shakers on the teams.


Everyone should experience at least one of these evenings. You’ve heard that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Well, here’s your chance to test the theory. You might be pleasantly surprised.