Posted by : January 26, 2014| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
KEMP-Students in Kemp Intermediate School and upward got a real treat this week, welcoming back inspirational speaker Reggie Dabbs for a series of assemblies on bullying and what to do about it. Reggie’s disarming humor, musicianship and personal DJ drive home a message of personal responsibility for making school a friendly, safe place.
Beginning in 1987, Reggie has become a popular public school speaker. He speaks to over two million students each year through school assemblies and other events.
The Monitor caught up with him at the Kemp Junior High School Thursday.
After help from the student body in identifying the school’s best athlete, smartest kid, funniest classmate and kindest, most caring student, along with the students’ favorite teacher, he conducted a game Family Feud style, complete with theme music for each contestant and buzzer sounds for correct and incorrect answers to true or false questions.
The first was: The best way to deal with a bully is to fight. Student athlete Jaise Bowie answered correctly, false.
The next question: If you are bullied or teased and you tell someone about it, you are a snitch or a tattletale. Smartest contestant Hayden Bradshaw answered correctly, false.
Funniest contestant Ethan Felix answered the next question: If you are bullied or teased, eventually you’ll get over it. The answer is again, false. “You can ruin someone’s life,” Reggie said.
The kindest contestant, Criztal Fonseca, got a bye, because of course, she would know how to respond correctly.
Favorite teacher Londie Lemons got the final question — the answer to which no one had ever gotten correct in 2014, Reggie said. The question is: Bullies have a high self-esteem, true or false?
Each contestant had the benefit of polling the audience on their answers before responding. In this case, most the teachers in the audience answered false to this question, as did Lemons. However, Reggie said, “Surprisingly, most bullies have a high self-esteem. What they don’t have is empathy, the ability to identify with someone other than themselves. They don’t care about nobody. But they can grow. They can change.”
Reggie stressed that each person has a choice to make on how they act and speak. He began the assembly interactively, directing students to say: “I can. You can. We can.” And finally, “I got your back,” which means “you don’t stand alone.”
He told how his early school years he was constantly called “Fat Albert” the popular cartoon creation of comedian Bill Cosby. One day he counted the number of times in a day and totaled 281. This so upset him that his adoptive dad told him that the other students were jealous because he had his own cartoon character and they didn’t.
However, the 10-year-old foster kid Reggie had assigned a destructive self-talk to every “Hey, hey, hey Fat Albert,” he heard. And no one knew it, but himself. He said, what he heard was “You don’t have a father. You don’t have a mother. You don’t belong,” and it was this that tore him up inside. “You just never know, how your innocent teasing will translate to the kid being teased,” he said.
He then spoke about the names or titles we could be giving one another, such as: champion, legend, treasure or sunshine, just to name a few.
“We have the power to lift one another up, or to tear one another down,” he said. “Let’s use our power for good. You don’t know what home life someone is coming from. School should be a warm accepting, safe place to go to. Together, we can make it that way.”
Reggie talks to the kids in a humorous style about choices each of them has when faced with drugs, alcohol, suicide, and bullying. Reggie gets in kids’ faces and tells them that he never smoked a cigarette, never did drugs, and never drank alcohol, because he chose not to. He assures them that they can make the same kinds of choices. Most of all, Reggie drives home the fact that “You can never change your past, but you can change your future!”
Posted by : January 23, 2014| On :
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–Former Kemp fire chief Joe Yeakley is fighting for his life at Parkland Hospital where he is being treated for burns over 50 percent of his body.
He was inside a burning structure Friday when the roof caved in on him, trapping him inside.
Kemp firefighter Miles Hicks said a rescue team got him out and a Dixie firefighter was hurt in the process. A second firefighter was also trapped but was able to free himself without sustaining any burns.
The fire was in Lindale and called in around 12:45 a.m. Friday. Yeakley lives and works there and has been on the local fire department since 1999.
All attending the 20th annual Mabank Volunteer Fire Department Chili Supper paused for prayer led by fire station chaplain Ricky White. (See pages 10A-11A for photos from the supper fundraiser.)
Yeakley is married to Denise. The couple have recently seen their daughter, Nicole, married. Nicole and her husband live in McKinney.
Joe Yeakley has worked for Caudle-Rutledge Funeral Home as a director for seven years. James Rutledge, funeral home president and managing director said, “Joe has been a faithful employee. He loves serving people and being a firefighter.”
Joe Yeakley is a 30-year firefighting veteran, having been on the Kemp Fire Department 1984-1998.
He has a long and arduous recovery in front of him, with many months of hospitalization and rehabilitation.
A fund has been set up for him with the Lindale Texas Bank and Trust, P.O. Box 8, Lindale, TX 75771.
Attendees of the chili supper contributed around $600 to the boot drive in his honor.
The Mabank Volunteer Fire Department contributed another $400 from its fundraiser to total $1,000.
Posted by : January 19, 2014| On :
Stop-N-Gogh Art Studio owner Brittany Samford (center) was named January’s Business of the Month at the Jan. 9 Cedar Creek Lake Area Chamber of Commerce’s monthly luncheon by Marty Mullins (left) and Board Chair Ralph Fortner. “Brittany has been giving to the lake area for a long time,” said Mullins of Samford’s award.
More photos from this event can be found in the Sunday, January 19, 2014 issue of The Monitor.