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Ravens Branch News

Published: 4:35 PM, 12/21/2008 Last updated: 9:52 AM, 05/13/2009

Author: Brenda Wilburn
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

I hope everyone is as thankful as I am to see the rain that we have received the last few weeks. It is good to see the streams flowing freely maybe not full like they were a few years ago. However, the water level is no longer down to the rocks on the bottom of the creek.


The staff of Grassy Fork School celebrated Christmas together with a dinner at the Fox and Hound banquet room on Friday, Dec. 12. Almost everyone was able to attend included the regular employees and the special teachers who only work part-time at our school. Family members were also included in the gathering. We all had fun. We played the Dirty Santa game where when it is your time to choose a gift, you can take one from someone else. Of course, we all picked on Mr. Barger, the art teacher, because he is such a good sport. It did not matter what gift he chose, someone took it from him. The job of educating students is so stressful now with all the emphasis on test scores that it is good for us to just relax and enjoy some time together and get acquainted with family members.


Our community is mourning the loss of another of our citizens. Charles Everette Clark was found dead at his house this morning, Dec. 15. He was only 48 years old. Charles had been in ill health the last few years. I graduated from Cosby High School with his sister, Diane Black. His nephew, Jamie Clark, is the Title I teacher at our school, And I have known Roy and John David, his brothers, most of my life. Our sympathy to the family.


Beulah Brown Tipton passed away on Tuesday, Dec. 16. She had been sick for some time and was a resident at the Baptist Convalescent Center. I have seen her sister, Patty Moore, visiting her. We pray that God will comfort this family.


Happy birthday to J.D.'s sister, Marie Grigsby, on Dec. 15, and to my niece, Nikki Jones, on Dec.16. Nikki celebrated the event by attending a Lady Vols basketball game in Nashville with her parents, Mike and Betty Jones.


The Grassy Fork Drama Club presented the play, Christmas with the Clause Family on Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 1 and 6 p.m. The Grassy Fork School Band performed preceding the play. Band members are Dillan Shults and Raile Childress on the trumpet; Julie McGaha and Kaitlyn Thompson on the flute. First, Julie and Kaitlyn played "Noel". Then Dillan played "Blue Christmas" and Raile played "Go Tell it on the Mountain". They also perfomed the songs "We Three Kings of Orient Are" and Silent Knight". It is touching to see these young students developing their musical talent.


Preceding the play, Beth Swanger sang "Silent Night" acapella as students, Briana Ottinger and Petchula Ford, performed the song in sign language


The play, Christmas with the Clause Family, was written by the directors, Beth Gates and Beth Swanger, and the cast. The theme was that Christmas is about family and loved ones more than things. The setting was at the North Pole where the Clause Family is watching TV as they wait for Christmas Time. Santa is discouraged because Christmas Eve is so hard since the children all want so much. The TV programs portrayed different guest on talk shows and how they are working to encourage the right Christmas Spirit.


Cast members were Robert Lehman as Santa Clause; Petchula Ford and Sally Clause; Ariane Frazier as Sandy Clause; Dillan Shults as Dr. Dill; Kaitlyn and Briana Ottinger as Co-hosts; Daniel Wall as Maintenance Man; Wendy McGaha as Crystal and Fashion Designer; Ashley Mihalek as Marlene; Dalton Henderson as Darrell McCheapskate; Peyton Johnson as Susie Cheapskate and Chef Peyton; Kasey Ford as Tiny Tina; Christian Evans as Donna; Dakota Moore as Ghost of Christmas; and Wade Hall as Daredevil Wade. The Reindeer Carolers were Austin Hall, Tara Raines, Ashley Mihalek and Kylie Carmichael. The Candy Cane Dancers were Ashley Mihalek, Kasey Ford, Jada Baxter, and Breylan Black. There was a crowd of family members and friends to watch these young students perform, and they did a good job.


Beth Freeman, Eva Shelton, and Elsie Bomar did Grassy Fork School the favor of judging our Downtown Hartford Essay Contest, which was sponsored by Harold Cates. The topic was "Cocke County is a Great Place to Live". We required the fourth through eighth grades to participate. So there were sixty-two essays to read. We sure appreciate these ladies donating their time to judge for us. They were impressed by the quality of the writing our student did. After much time and hard work, the winners were: first place-Petchula Ford, second place-Blade Edwards, and third place-Robert Lehman. Our school appreciates all the community support that we receive when we have events like this.


The Baptist Convalescent Center held their annual Christmas Party for the residents on Wednesday, Dec. 17, at 3. This celebration is important to the residents. They get so excited over their presents and Santa's appearance. Troy, JoAnn and I attended to be with Geraldine.


The Grassy Fork School staff gave the "gift of reading" to our students on Wednesday. This is where the staff chooses a Christmas storybook to read from. The books are numbered. The students choose which book they want to hear by the numbers without knowing who the reader will be. There were students all over the school enjoying a story being read to them. Then each staff member had an activity for their students to do that related to the book that was read.


I started this Monday night, but this has been such a hectic week with so many things happening that it is hard to decide when to quit on this column and send it in.


While at the funeral home Wednesday night with the Clark Family, I learned that Kaye Grooms Mooneyham, wife of Johnny Mooneyham, had passed away. This family needs our prayers and sympathy.


I also stopped by Manes Funeral Home to visit with the Imogene Worley Family. We are so sorry for their loss. Her daughter, Debbie and her husband, Neil Hicks, both work at ConAgra with J.D.


Then today, Thursday, I received word that Ted Hires who moved here from Florida a few years ago and opened the Pigeon River Smokehouse in Harford had passed away this morning. Ted and his wife, Wanda, had sold their business and moved back to Florida. He was a big help to the GFVFD while he lived here.


Kathy Hemsworth was at our school on Wednesday to take some pictures for us.  She was telling me about her daughter Elizabeth's problems with her heart.  I am putting her on our prayer lists.  She is too young to have such serious health problems.  We pray that treatment and diet can solve her problems.


Olivia Miller, a teenager who was seriously injured in an automobile accident is at her home on Cosby. She is in a wheelchair. We are praying that she will fully recover from all her injuries.


Well our Christmas break begins after Friday, and I still don't have all my gifts bought or cards sent. Maybe now I can get busy and get these jobs done.


I hope everyone has a merry and safe Christmas.




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