Alvord ISD gets ready to pass out Chromebooks

Alvord ISD gets ready to pass out Chromebooks

In a storage room at Alvord High School, where servers hum and metal shelves are piled high with hard drives, cables and old computers being scrapped for parts, 400 brand-new notebook computers sit neatly stacked, ready to go into the hands of students.

Any day now.

Alvord ISD waited longer than most districts to put a “one-to-one” solution into place – that is, to put a computer into the hands of every student.

Ready for the Rollout

READY FOR THE ROLLOUT – Technology Director Charlie Mann is about to place a Chromebook computer in the hands of every middle and high school student in Alvord. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

But at a June 26 school board meeting, district Technology Director Charlie Mann told the board about Chromebooks – notebook computers which hold minimal software and data, but provide “cloud” access through the Google Chrome browser. They are specifically designed for classroom use.

On the administration’s recommendation, the board approved a three-year lease-purchase of about $50,000 a year.

Since then, Mann has upgraded the wireless Internet access points in all three AISD campuses, set up a system to check out the computers, and taken delivery of the devices, cases and – just this week – charging carts.

Sometime in the next few days, he will put one in the hands of every high school and middle school student in Alvord ISD.

“They’re ready to go,” he said last week. “They’re set up on the network, configured out on the cloud – basically it’s just a matter of handing them out.”

Each unit is barcoded and will be assigned to a specific student, with its own slot in the charging cart. Students will be asked to sign an updated authorized user agreement, and those under 13 will need parent permission to get email.

Once that’s all done, the students will be able to use them – but only at school.

“We won’t take them home this first year, just to see how it goes,” Mann said. “This is a way for us to do this without having to tell the parents we need to charge them something for insurance.”

And, he noted, if the kids have access to a computer at home, they’ll have access to everything that’s on the Chromebook.

“There’s a thing called Google Classroom, which is basically a virtual environment to turn work in, to do assignments,” he said.

Mann said when a teacher makes an assignment, Google Classroom will automatically create that assignment on their drive.

“It’s almost like somebody’s walking around with the kid all day with file folders, and every time they do something, he creates a file folder and puts it in their thing,” he said. “It keeps them organized without them even having to be organized. I think that’s huge.”

And unlike computer nightmares of the past, the students can’t lose their work. There’s no “save” button – it’s being saved as they go.

“Staying organized, staying on top of things – I think that’s really what’s going to help the kids,” he said.

Mann, a former classroom teacher himself, said the administration insists that technology be a help, not a burden, to teachers.

“Academically, Alvord really excels already,” he said. “I don’t want the technology to cause any problems. You want it to help the teachers, not hinder what they’re trying to do. You want to take it to the next level without them having to take 10 steps back.”

And, he said, because the Chromebook is a fairly inexpensive system, teachers can feel free to use it as much or as little as they wish.

“If they don’t need to use it during that class period, it’s OK. It may not be the most effective thing,” he said. “It’s like any other tool you use – pliers might do the same thing as a crescent wrench. You have to choose when to use that tool.”

Mann, who takes care of phones, computers, smartboards, security systems and all the other technology at Alvord ISD, said the district has come a long way since he started in December 2011.

“In the last two-and-a-half years, by leaps and bounds, we’ve moved Alvord into the 21st century,” he said. “It’s not just me – the administration, school board and superintendent have really just embraced it and said ‘We need to get going.’ We’re really doing a lot of things.”

Including, sometime this week or next, putting Chromebooks into the hands of 400 kids.

“The students are going to embrace it,” Mann said. “They’re going to take to whatever you put in their hands. You just need to put something in their hands – something they can use.

“I think we’re really moving in the right direction.”

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Football: Bulldogs face testy Hornets

The Alvord Bulldogs suffered a second straight setback last week, falling to Leonard.

Alvord coach Pete Hart said he found positives despite the 49-6 loss to the 2013 2A Division II semifinalists.

“We learned a lot about ourselves,” Hart said. “We were overmatched, but the kids lowered their pads and tried to get after it.

“Playing a team that’s been to the semifinals and has that experience, you learn to compete at that level.”

The Bulldogs get another hefty task this week, taking on the Muenster Hornets (3-0). A regional finalist last year, the Hornets have pasted Valley View, Nocona and Callisburg to start the season.

“They are a very talented team. Their kids play very physical. It’ll be another tough test for us,” Hart said.

Dalton Bartel is the Muenster workhorse. He has 431 yards and eight touchdowns in three games. He ran for 208 yards and four scores last week in Muenster’s 35-20 win over Callisburg.

While the Bulldogs will have their hands full on defense with Bartel and company, the Alvord offense will look to cash in on opportunities that got away from it last week against Leonard.

Alvord piled up 182 yards rushing and 231 total against Leonard, but failed to find the end zone on offense, throwing four interceptions.

“We moved the ball OK on the ground,” Hart said. “Turnovers will kill you every time. We had drives where we’d move the ball and turn it over.”


7:30 p.m. at Hornet Stadium

Alvord: Harris Rating 189

Notable: Joe Randall topped 100 yards for a second time this season last week.

Muenster: Harris Rating 209

Notable: Dalton Bartel has 431 yards and eight touchdowns.

Harris line: Muenster by 21

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Pioneering art in Alvord is Oden’s ‘dream job’

Pioneering art in Alvord is Oden’s ‘dream job’

Don’t let all those degrees fool you.

Art teacher Krissi Oden grew up in Seymour and she’s very comfortable in a small school district, in a small town. In fact, starting a new art program at Alvord Middle School and Alvord High School this year is her “dream job.”

Artistic Hands

ARTISTIC HANDS – Alvord High School students are getting a little color on their hands as they move into pastel drawing in first-year art teacher Krissi Oden’s classes. Art is a new elective offering at the school this year. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“The students are phenomenal,” she said after school last Thursday. “One of the best things is that they come in not thinking that they’re capable of certain things because they have these ideals in their heads of what art should be.

“Then when they start working with the mediums, they have that moment of, ‘Oh, I can do this!'”

It’s the moment every teacher lives for, and Oden gets to experience it almost every day.

She has two classes at the middle school campus – seventh and eighth graders combined, about 26 in all – and five at the high school with 16 to 20 students in each. This year, it’s all Art I – a popular new elective.

Coloring Still Lifes

COLORING STILL LIFES – Alvord High School seniors (from left) Morgyn Callaway and Lacey Watkins enjoy getting to work in pastels during Krissi Oden’s art class Thursday morning. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

“I get to see that excitement on their faces, that confidence,” she said. “I’ve even had a couple of them take their stuff to [AHS principal] Dr. King after class just to say, ‘Look what I did!’ I can feel their confidence getting better.

“I’ve already had parents contact me, telling me how much their kiddos love the art class, it’s meant so much to them.

“That’s why I do this. That’s it. That was all I needed.”

Oden brings 10 years of teaching experience to Alvord ISD, most of it in museums. She earned a BFA in art history from the University of North Texas, then stayed at UNT for a master’s in art history. She finishes a second master’s in teaching/art education at Texas Woman’s University next May.

She has taught and designed after-school and in-school art programs, taught in museums, worked with art education nonprofits – even taught at the college level and helped create teaching and learning materials for the art collection at Cowboys Stadium.

“One of the biggest reasons I wanted to move back into the classroom was, I wanted more than that one shot at kids,” she said. “Teaching in museums was fantastic, and I loved that they were able to bring them there, but I wanted more.

“I wanted to be there with them, watch them grow and scaffold that learning for them.”

Her background in art history helps Oden teach her students the context in which great art was created and how to talk about art – others’ and their own.

“How do you look at a painting, how do you look at artwork, how do you understand what it is you see?” she said. “Do you understand that your experience is never going to be the same as anyone else’s experience with that piece of art?”

She started her students with drawing and is now moving into pastels, the use of color. They drew a still-life, but now she’s working them away from realism to a deeper expression of what’s inside them.

She plays music in her classroom, and has given her students a theme for the year – “What is your truth?”

“It’s all about kind of understanding who you are, being proud of who you are, being able to express who you are through your art work,” she said. “And so when we do critiques, that’s a huge portion of their grade – being able to talk about their artwork and tell me how their truth is reflected in it.”

They’re not allowed to just say, “I like it.” There must be a “because…” And even when they critique each other’s work, they don’t criticize.

“It can’t be negative,” she said. “We’re here to build each other up. The point is to have confidence to do your art and talk about your art.”

As they learn to express themselves through lines, colors, shapes, forms and textures, they’re also learning to express themselves verbally – all without fear.

“I told them the first week school started, this room is a safe space,” she said. “We are family when we come into this room. We are never mean to each other;, we don’t say negative things to each other. This is where you can be who you are.

“They respected that – they got it – and they are every day becoming more and more open and free about just being who they are when they get here.”

And as Alvord’s emerging artists continue to gain skill and confidence, Oden hopes to add Art II, Art III and AP Art to the curriculum over the next few years.

Proving again that sometimes big talent can be found in small places.

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Student Spotlights for Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Carl Frye

Grade: 2nd, Mrs. Mitchell’s class

Parents: Coley and Amanda Frye

Favorite subjects: math and art.

Activities: riding horses, rock climbing, fishing, playing golf with his daddy and brother, and building things with Legos.

Sports: baseball, basketball

Quote from the principal: Carl was diagnosed with diabetes July 20, 2011, but he goes about each school day as any normal second grader, even though he visits the nurse’s office frequently to check his sugar levels. He wants to ask everyone to pray for a cure for diabetes “So no one else has to have it.” Carl is a very special young man with a great attitude about everything.


Cesar Murillo

Grade: 8th

Mothers’ name: Maria Gachuzo

Favorite subject: science

Activities: video games; church youth group, football/track

Quote from the principal: Cesar is a young man who leads by example. He is kind and respectful to all of his classmates and is a very hardworking student who always strives to do his best. I appreciate Cesar for his positive attitude and his willingness to help others.


Lezlee Bull

Grade: 10

Parents: Walter and Jessica Bull

Favorite subject: science

Activities: reading, band, hanging out with friends

Quote from the principal: She is being considered for the Texas Academy of Math and Science (TAMS) at the University of North Texas and was identified by the Duke University Talent Identification Program at an early age. She would like to pursue radiology or stenography within the medical field.

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Football: Tigers chew up Bulldogs

The Alvord Bulldogs found few answers for slowing down the Leonard Tigers Friday.

Behind their big experienced offensive line and running back Dylan Monck, the Tigers chewed up 322 yards on the ground on their way to a 49-6 victory over the Bulldogs at Leopard Stadium in Gainesville.

ON THE MOVE – Alvord’s Heath Walker heads for the end zone after seizing an interception in the second quarter. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Alvord dropped a second straight and fell to 1-2 on the year.

Leonard (2-0), the Class 2A Division II semifinalist from last year, finished with 380 total yards.

Monck rushed for 104 on just 10 carries. Nearly half of his rushes ended in the end zone. He scored on runs of 26, 11, five and one yards. He also caught a 15-yard touchdown pass.

Monck’s 1-yard touchdown run at 9:17 of the first put Leonard 8-0 after he also ran in the conversion. He scored again less than three minutes later on a 5-yard scamper.

Down 14-0, Alvord scored early in the second quarter with Heath Walker intercepting a pass and returning it eight yards. It was the Bulldogs’ lone touchdown of the night.

Offensively, the Bulldogs moved the ball but couldn’t convert on their chances. Alvord ran for 182 yards. Joe Randall finished with 130 on 25 carries.

Alvord struggled in the passing game. Cassidy Patterson went 3-for-12 through the air for 49 yards. He tossed four interceptions.

After leading 28-6 at halftime, Leonard continued to pull away in the second half. Monck rumbled in from 26 yards out at 10:05 of the third quarter.

Brent Hicks added a 2-yard touchdown at the start of the fourth quarter. Brandon Benton closed the night with a dash to the end zone from seven yards out.

ON THE MOVE – Mason Clower finds a bit of running room in the Bulldogs’ Friday night 49-6 loss to Leonard in Gainesville. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt


Leonard … 14 … 14 … 7 … … 14 … – … 49
Alvord … 0 … 6 … 0 … … 0 … – … 6


Leonard – 9:17, Dylan Monck 1 run, Monck PAT

Leonard – 6:46, Monck 5 run, PAT failed.


Alvord – 11:47, Heath Walker 8 interception, Kick failed.

Leonard – 7:45, Monck 11 run, Nick McCain Kick

Leonard – 2:48, Ryan Nixon 15 pass to Monck, McCain kick.


Leonard – 10:05, Monck 26 run, McCain kick.


Leonard – 9:45, Brent Hicks 2 run, McCain kick.

Leonard – Brandon Benton 7 run, McCain kick. …


First Downs … 21 … 9
Rushes-Yards … 37-322 … 39-182
Passing Yards … 58 … 49
Total Yards … 380 … 231
Comp-Att-Int … 5-14-1 … 3-12-4
Punts-Avg. … 1-46 … 3-25
Fumbles-lost … 1-1 … 1-0
Penalties … 2-20 … 6-50


Rushing – Alvord, Joe Randall 25-130; Leonard, Monck 10-104.

Receiving – Alvord, Randall 2-40; Leonard, Monck 2-34.

Passing – Alvord, Cassidy Patterson 3-12; Leonard, Ryan Nixon 5-14.

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Allison Jade Biediger

Grant Biediger and Ashly Lemage of Alvord announce the birth of a daughter, Allison Jade Biediger, on Aug. 13, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 19 3/4 inches long.

She has two sisters: Aubrie Jeanine Biediger, 1, and Maci Rose Lemage, 3.

Grandparents are Gloria and Bo Biediger, Bekki and Brian Osborne, and Kevin Lemage.

Great-grandparents are Kay Mardis and Kathy and Pat Duvall.

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Football: Bulldogs hope for rebound

Facing a tough Grapevine Faith team last week, the Alvord Bulldogs suffered several injuries in the second half that limited them on the way to a 56-21 loss.

“I looked up in the third quarter and we had seven starters on the sidelines. No matter what level you’re at, you’re going to struggle when you are without that many starters,” said Alvord coach Pete Hart.

“I was proud of the kids. They stayed with [Grapevine Faith] and into the third quarter it was back and forth.”

As of Tuesday morning, Hart expected a majority of the starters to be back on the field Friday when the Bulldogs head to Gainesville’s Leopard Stadium to face the Leonard Tigers at 7:30 p.m.

“We should have everyone back against Leonard,” he said. “We are running through the gauntlet in our non-district schedule. We want to keep kids as healthy as possible and also improve.”

Among the players on the sidelines at the end of the game for the Bulldogs last week was starting tailback Joe Randall. Hart said he came out as a precaution with a tight hamstring after running for 96 yards on nine carries with a touchdown.

“He injured the hamstring in track last spring,” Hart said. “We wanted to be careful. When we took him out, it deflated us a bit. He’s also our free safety on defense and not having him on the field hurt us against a passing team.”

Hart did find a bright spot, however, as the injuries last week put several young players on the field to play against a quality opponent.

The Bulldogs will face another quality team this week in 1-0 Leonard. The Tigers went to the 2A Division II semifinals last year before falling to eventual state champion Cisco.

They return seven starters on each side of the ball. Leonard opened the season last week with a 41-6 win over Quinlan Boles.

Churning up huge chunks of yards behind its big and powerful offensive line, Leonard put up 34 points in the first half. Dylan Monck had 89 yards and two scores on just seven carries. Ryan Nixon added 75 yards and two touchdowns on five touches.

“They are impressive,” Hart said. “They have four of their five offensive linemen back. It’ll be a real physical game for our defensive line.”

Hart said the Tigers are also physical on defense. He hopes the Bulldogs can spread the Leonard defense out to create opportunities.

ALVORD (1-1) VS. LEONARD (1-0)

7:30 p.m. at Leopard Stadium

In Gainesville

Alvord: Harris Rating 194

Notable: The Bulldogs had 7 starters out last week.

Leonard: Harris Rating 209

Notable: The Tigers went to the 2A Div. II semifinals last year.

.Harris line: Leonard by 17

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Football: Lions tame Bulldogs

Injuries and turnovers contributed to the Alvord Bulldogs’ 56-21 defeat at the hands of the Grapevine Faith Lions Friday.

GOING DOWN – A host of Bulldogs tackle a Grapevine Faith player during Alvord 56-21 loss Friday night. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Alvord started the scoring less than two minutes into the game on of a 27-yard run by Joe Randall, but the Bulldogs didn’t score again until the second quarter.

“We knew Grapevine Faith was going to challenge us,” Alvord head coach Pete Hart said. “They’re a good team. I’m disappointed in the loss, but I’m not disappointed in our kids.”

Grapevine Faith was ready for Randall, holding him to 76 yards on 8 touches. After Randall’s touchdown, the Lions roared back, scoring twice in the first quarter – on a 1-yard run by back R.J. Reynolds, and a 10-yard run by quarterback Cam Roane.

Roane went 19 for 24 on the night and picked up 37 rushing yards.

A Randall fumble at the beginning of the second quarter resulted in another scoring drive for the Lions, culminating in a 16-yard pass from Roane to Luke McCleery.

A gutsy 4th down conversion on Alvord’s next drive wasn’t enough to score later on, and the Bulldogs ended up punting. Grapevine didn’t score on their next drive, and a 17-yard touchdown pass from Cassidy Patterson to Heath Walker cut Grapevine’s lead to 21-14 at the half.

But the third quarter started with a 95-yard kickoff return by Faith’s Keyshawn Wyatt, and it was a two-touchdown game again.

Patterson rallied the Bulldogs again, however, as a 70-yard pass to Walker made the score 28-21.

But the Bulldogs would not score again, and their defense never found a way to stop Roane. He hit receiver Noah Postema on Grapevine’s next drive for a 20-yard strike, and then carried it in himself from five yards out to put Grapevine in the driver’s seat at 49-21.

Grapevine scored twice more in the final frame. Wyatt ran it in from 30 yards out less than a minute into the quarter, and Casey Wasserman caught a 28-yard pass from Roane near the end of the game to put the final tally of 56-21 on the board.

By that time, Alvord had benched seven of its starters due to injuries, including Randall and tight end Riley Davila.

“The thing that we’re trying to get our team to understand, is that if a guy goes down, another guy has to come in and play just as hard,” Hart said. “And I really think our kids did that tonight. A lot of sophomores ended up having to play.”

Grapevine Faith head coach Kris Hogan said the hard work Hart was talking about was evident on the field.

“They play hard,” Hogan said. “They definitely challenged us. I thought we played sloppy, but, it could have been Alvord just making us play sloppy.”


Grapevine Faith … 14 … 7 … 21 … … 14 … – … 56
Alvord … 7 … 7 … 7 … … 0 … – … 21


Alvord – 10:21, Joe Randall 27 run, Jose Luna PAT kick.

Grapevine Faith – 6:50, R.J. Reynolds 1 run, Cole Lewis PAT kick.

Grapevine Faith – 2:23, Cam Roane 10 run, Lewis PAT kick.


Grapevine Faith – 10:54, Roane pass to Luke McCleery, Lewis PAT kick.

Alvord – 0:51, Cassidy Patterson 13 pass to Heath Walker, Luna PAT kick.


Grapevine Faith – 11:44, Keyshawn Wyatt 95 kickoff return. Lewis PAT kick.

Alvord – 10:47, Patterson 70 pass to walker, Luna PAT kick.

Grapevine Faith – 7:25, Roane 20 pass to Noah Postema, Lewis PAT kick.

Grapevine Faith – 2:09, Roane 5 run, Lewis PAT kick.


Grapevine Faith – 11:03, Wyatt 30 run, Lewis PAT kick.

Grapevine Faith – 7:15, Roane 28 pass to Casey Wasserman, Lewis PAT kick


First Downs … 24 … 17
Rushes-Yards … 35-262 … 30-262
Passing Yards … 261 … 225
Total Yards … 523 … 487
Comp-Att-Int … 19-24-0 … 12-22-2
Punts-Avg. … 1-32 … 2-28.5
Fumbles-lost … 1-0 … 3-2
Penalties … 6-70 … 5-45


Rushing – Grapevine Faith, Wyatt, 15-135. Alvord, Randall, 8-76.

Receiving – Grapevine Faith, Mike Modisett, 6-71. Alvord, Walker, 6-140.

Passing – Grapevine Faith, Roane, 19-24-0, 261. Alvord, Patterson, 12-22-2, 225.

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Drawn to art: Dad draws detailed masterpieces on son’s lunch bags

Drawn to art: Dad draws detailed masterpieces on son’s lunch bags

It started as a prank, pulled by a father on his son.

It may turn into a treasured heirloom – and the continuation of a family favorite pastime.

Drawing Inspiration

DRAWING INSPIRATION – Deriving inspiration from a plethora of sources, Davey Edwards has recreated everything from famous portraits to mythological creatures on the lunch bags of his son, Ryan (right). Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Every school day, consistently for the last nine months, Davey Edwards of Alvord has doodled on his oldest son’s lunch bag.

The goal was to embarrass Ryan, a sophomore at Alvord High School, as a way of teaching him responsibility.

“The biggest intention was to draw on the bag and whatever could embarrass him, that’s what I would try,” Davey said.

Growing up, Ryan, now 15, constantly left his lunch boxes at school. His parents began packing his lunch in plain, brown paper sacks.

One afternoon, Ryan asked his dad to bring him food from a local fast-food eatery.

“What I did was, I made him a peanut butter sandwich and drew a picture of the Wendy’s girl – and instead of putting ‘Wendy’s’ I put ‘Ryan’s,'” Davey said.

After that, Davey didn’t doodle on another lunch sack for several months – until this past January.

“I got to thinking, ‘These blank things, and I’m sitting here doing nothing,'” he said.

It was an open invitation to a lifelong artist whose trade as a land surveyor gives him few opportunities to use that talent.

“I’ve just always loved art,” he said. “I’ve been drawing since I was 4.”

So Davey took to the “canvas” and sketched out a series of women in sports.

“At the time, Ryan was getting started in baseball so I went with that theme,” Davey said. “But really, it’s just what’s interesting to me because I’m not going to draw it if it’s not interesting.”

Family Gift

FAMILY GIFT – Davey Edwards of Alvord sketches intricate drawings on his son, Ryan’s, lunch bags. He is compiling the sketches in a book he plans to gift to his oldest son. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

His inspiration comes from everywhere – including movies he watches on TV, the video games his son plays and worldwide festivities.

He even welcomes suggestions from the following he’s created on Facebook. To encourage interaction, he posts some of his works on the social media site for fans to guess what famous works he’s recreated.

Lately, he’s taken a particular interest in mythological creatures – Norwegian goddesses, mermaids and such.

Since the primary purpose of the lunch bag art was to embarrass his teenage son, Davey decided the subject of his works would be women.

Although that was the original purpose, Edwards also points out the artistic value.

“To me, a female character is beautiful. But I think they’re more complex than a male, if you’re going to draw them,” he said. “They’re a lot more difficult to get the curvatures down. Men are typically boxy. There’s not much to a male form. So I typically focus on the female form because of the curves and the beauty in it and the hair. But I have done male characters.”

He set himself a few other “rules” as well.

The works had to be on brown, paper sacks, and he would use only black ink.

In addition, he allots himself no more than an hour per lunch sack.

But like the “girl rule,” most of the others have also been bent.

Davey has incorporated some color in his doodles, and one of his favorite pieces, a replica of the famed “Afghan Girl” – a National Geographic cover by photographer Steve McCurry, took much longer than 60 minutes.

“I really focused on the eyes on that one, because when you look at the National Geographic cover, it was the eyes that everybody noticed,” he said. “It ended up looking a lot better than I thought it would, and I ended up spending a lot more time on it than I normally would.”

All the time spent in creating these masterpieces is not wasted.

In a continuing effort to instill responsibility in his son, Davey asks that Ryan bring home each sack.

Davey unfolds it and trims it to mount in a book he one day intends to give his son.

“He brings them back torn and wrinkled, but I don’t mind that at all,” Davey said. “That adds character to it. A lot of times it’s really got character, it really got ripped up because he puts it at the bottom of his bag. I don’t have an issue with that. Some people said, ‘Why could you let him tear it up?’ It’s his, really. When I get this all done, it’s his to have.”

Davey snaps a photo of each of his drawings and documents the inspiration behind the work.

“So it’s not like I’m going to lose anything,” he said.

But the collection of lunch bags isn’t all that Davey is passing along to Ryan and his brothers.

Ryan, like his father, has taken up drawing. Both do pencil drawings, but Ryan colors his.

“That’s where I’m starting,” Davey said. “It doesn’t work as well on brown paper as it does white paper, but it’s still a little bit.”

Even Davey’s middle son, Davin, who likes watercolors, shows promising signs of artistic abilities.

“He’s going to be our biggest artist,” Davey said. “Hopefully he’ll overcome me and be famous someday. And hopefully they appreciate the art of it.

“My grandma, my dad’s mom, did oil paintings. We have some of her works, and I think they’re so special,” Davey continued. “Ryan will get this book and will get to look back and say, ‘That’s part of me.’ I think it’s neat.”

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Football: Alvord hopes to keep momentum rolling

The Alvord Bulldogs opened the season with an impressive 30-point win over former district foe Nocona last week. But as the season rolls into its second week, Alvord coach Pete Hart points out the team still has plenty of room to improve.

“After watching the film, I saw a lot of good things, but we still have a lot to work on,” Hart said.

3000 and Counting

3,000 AND COUNTING – Alvord running back Joe Randall topped 3,000 yards for his career Friday during the Bulldogs’ win over Nocona. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

The Bulldogs will need to show that improvement Friday night when they play host to Grapevine Faith at 7:30 at Bulldog Stadium.

Grapevine Faith is coming off 52-7 thumping of Rio Vista.

“They are pretty talented,” Hart said. “It’s going to be a challenge for us.”

Grapevine Faith quarterback Cam Roane torched Rio Vista for 273 yards and three touchdowns last week through the air. Casey Wasseman hauled in three passes for 76 yards and two scores.

Noah Postema added three catches for 61 yards.

“Their quarterback is good. You think you have him trapped and he gets away and can throw the ball a mile,” Hart said. “Their receivers are big and can run.”

Hart said the Bulldogs can’t focus too much on Grapevine Faith’s passing game because of talented runner Keyshawn Wyatt, who rushed for 142 yards and two touchdowns last week.

“They throw 75 percent of the time, but if you spend too much time and effort on their passing game, you’ll get hurt by the run,” Hart said.

The Bulldogs did the opposite last week against Nocona. With the Indians stacking the line to stop Alvord’s Joe Randall, quarterback Cassidy Patterson threw for touchdowns of 30, 31, 42 and 43 yards.

Randall also had 176 rushing yards and two scores.

“We wanted to focus on being more balanced,” Hart said. “Our good running game opened up the passing game. They committed eight guys to the line of scrimmage and that opened up the vertical throws for Cassidy.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs limited Nocona to 167 yards. Nocona’s only score came on special teams.


7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium

G. Faith: Not rated

Notable: Faith rolled to a 52-7 win over Rio Vista last week.

Alvord: Harris Rating 192

Notable: Quarterback Cassidy Patterson threw for four touchdowns last week.

Harris line: No line

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Freda Doris Calder

Freda Doris Calder, 92, a retired aeronautical assembly worker, died Monday, Sept. 1, 2014, in Alvord.

No services will be held at this time.

Freda was born Feb. 4, 1922, in Mills, Colo., to Jess and Zela (Hollis) Massey. She married Guy Calder Nov. 19, 1939, in Regency.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her husband.

Survivors include her daughter, RaeAnn Warren and husband, David Sr., of Alvord; grandchildren Lisa Medina and husband, Roland, of Carrollton, David Warren Jr. and wife, Michelle, of Alvord and Wes Warren and wife, Nicole, of Flower Mound; nine great-grandchildren; four great-great-grandchildren; brother Wayne Massey of Fredericksburg; and sister Floree Shannon of Teague.

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Alvord School Board drops a penny from tax rate

Thursday’s school board meeting saw a few last-minute additions to the budget, but Alvord ISD trustees were also able to drop a penny from the tax rate.

While the district’s maintenance and operations tax rate stayed the same at $1.17 per $100 value, a carryover of about $80,000 in the district’s debt service fund made it possible to lower the debt service tax rate from last year’s 19.4 cents to 18.4 cents.

That makes Alvord’s total school tax rate $1.3540.

The district’s operating budget for the 2014-15 school year is down slightly at $7,295,067, compared to $7,513,993 last year. Last year’s major parking lot paving project and bus purchases were included in that budget item.

The budget for instruction is up just over $217,000, and there is a bump in school leadership of $63,508 after the addition of an assistant principal’s position at the elementary campus.

The guidance, counseling and evaluation budget rose just over $20,000, and the extracurricular budget was up just over $60,000 with the addition of volleyball, the last-minute need for more uniforms for several sports, and the replacement of commercial washers and dryers in both field houses.

The board also approved hiring an additional pre-kindergarten teacher due to higher-than-expected enrollment. After the new teacher and aide come on board and work with the existing class for a week, the pre-K class will be split into morning and afternoon sessions.

The food service budget projects a deficit of just more than $50,000 on total revenues of $390,000. That includes $229,000 in payments from students, $2,200 in state program funds and $158,800 in federal funds.

“It’s almost impossible to budget for food service because it all depends on our kids,” Superintendent Bill Branum said. “I can’t tell you how many dollars we’re going to get.”

The deficit was $45,000 last year. Branum said if the program makes more money than he projected, the excess funds would simply go into the district’s fund balance and be there for next year.

He also noted that $40,000 from last year’s maintenance tax notes is still in reserve, to be used to pay for the greenhouse which should be installed by November.


In Thursday’s meeting, the school board also:

  • heard an investment report;
  • approved an interlocal agreement with neighboring districts for transporting special-needs students;
  • approved a memorandum of understanding with Weatherford College to offer credit for college prep math and language arts courses; and
  • approved transfer students.

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Football: Alvord clicks in opener; Randall tops 3,000 with 176-yard night

First-game jitters were as plentiful as grasshoppers in the stadium lights at Alvord Friday night – but enough things worked to give new Bulldog coach Pete Hart his first win.

In the end, Alvord simply had more weapons.

On His Way

ON HIS WAY – Alvord’s Joe Randall pulls away from the pack in Friday night’s 38-8 victory over Nocona. Randall’s 176 rushing yards pushed his career total to 3,055. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Running back Joe Randall carried the ball 16 times for 176 yards, eclipsing the 3,000 mark for his high school career on his second carry of the third quarter.

That 27-yard sweep put the ball on the Nocona 6 yard line – one of the few times the Bulldogs didn’t score.

Nocona, down 25-8 at that point, took over on downs at its own 3 a few plays later and mounted an 11-play drive that was its best offensive showing of the night.

It ended on a fumbled snap – one of six turnovers that kept the Indians’ offense out of the end zone.

The visitors’ only score came with just over a minute left in the first quarter, when a bad snap left, Alvord punter, Mason Clower scrambling to get a kick off in the face of a rush. It was blocked, and Nocona’s Matt Womack fell on it in the end zone.

The rest of the time, Alvord simply outgunned the thin Nocona roster.

Randall bookended the offensive effort, scoring the first touchdown from 8 yards out and the last one from 20. In between, quarter Cassidy Patterson hit three different receivers – Heath Walker, Riley Davila and Jaylon White – for four touchdowns on pass plays of 31, 43, 30 and 42 yards.

Hart said it’s early, and there’s still a lot of work to do, but his team has some talent.

“Our approach is, if they’re going to load up and stop the run, we do have some receivers who can run and a quarterback who can throw,” he said. “We do have the ability to throw the ball down the field.”

Having a weapon like Randall puts defenses in a “Catch-22,” he said. And a solid effort from a young offensive line made it work.

“Our offensive line did a great job tonight. We have several sophomores in there, and they’re learning to battle,” he said. “They did a great job of protecting Cassidy for the most part, and blocking for Joe.”

He said there were a few injuries – and a lot of cramping on the sideline on the warm, humid night after rain fell earlier in the day.

“I’m real proud of the way our kids played tonight,” he said as the kids celebrated after the game. “I’m proud of our coaches, too. Coaches and kids are working their tails off and that’s the result.”

Teaming Up

TEAMING UP – A Nocona runner finds himself amidst a host of Alvord defenders in the Bulldogs’ season opener Friday night. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

Nocona … 8 … 0 … 0 … … 0 … – … 8
Alvord … 13 … 12 … 0 … … 13 … – … 38


Alvord – 9:42, Joe Randall 8 run, Jose Luna kick

Alvord – 6:02, Cassidy Patterson 31 pass to Heath Walker, PAT kick tipped

Nocona – 1:09, Matt Womack rec. blocked punt in end zone, Christian Ibarra run


Alvord – 11:23, Patterson 43 pass to Walker, PAT pass failed.

Alvord – 5:54, Patterson 30 pass to Riley Davila, PAT pass failed


Alvord – 11:11, Patterson 42 pass to Jaylon White, PAT run failed

Alvord – 9:16, Randall 20 run, Luna kick


First Downs … 14 … 16
Rushes Yards … 35-74 … 27-120
Passing Yards … 103 … 209
Total Yards … 167 … 329
Punts/avg. … 5-24 … 3-16
Fumbles/lost … 6-4 … 2-1
Penalties/yds … 6-45 … 5-35


Rushing – Alvord, Joe Randall 16-176. Nocona, Sentell 28-15.

Receiving – Alvord, Heath Walker 3-82. Nocona, Hernandez 4-56.

Passing – Alvord, Cassidy Patterson 11-15-0. Nocona, Sentell 7-11-2.

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Graham Lee Grady

Mckynzee Sherman of Alvord announces the birth of a son, Graham Lee Grady, on Aug. 20, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur. His father is the late Garrett Grady.

He weighed 8 pounds, 5 ounces and was 19 3/4 inches long.

He has one sister: Brailynn Grady, 2, of Atoka, Okla.

Grandparents are Scott and Carla Sherman of Alvord, Shawn and Billy Caves of Atoka, and Curtis and Jill Grady of Oklahoma City.

Great-grandparents are Veda Sherman of Decatur, Grover and Carolyn Turner of Atoka and Doug and Pearl Grady of Durant, Okla.

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Football: Back in action – White returns to Bulldogs for opener

Friday night’s season opener can’t get here fast enough for Alvord’s Jaylon White.

RETURNING TO THE FIELD – Alvord receiver and cornerback Jaylon White will be back in action for the Bulldogs after knee surgery and a preseason medical scare. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

After suffering a season-ending injury last year and then being held out of practice to start this year with a medical scare, White is grateful for the opportunity to get off the sidelines and back in the action.

“Friday is going to be great going out there,” White said. “It makes you want to play more, knowing it could’ve been taken from you.”

White will start on both sides of the ball for the Bulldogs Friday against Nocona, in front of a home crowd.

Last year, on the first play from scrimmage against Henrietta with his team in the hunt for a playoff spot, Jaylon White’s season came to an abrupt end.

“It was the first play after the kickoff on a jet sweep,” he recalled. “I ran the ball around the left side and a helmet went into the side of my knee.

“I felt it and heard it pop.”

The hit left the then-sophomore with a torn right anterior cruciate ligament. He was forced to watch the Bulldogs drop their final two games by three points each as they missed the playoffs.

“It was bad. I felt weird watching the team and knowing I couldn’t help them,” White explained.

He underwent surgery Dec. 21 and began his road back to the field.

“[Rehab] was tough at first,” White said.

But after putting in the hard work, he was released June 21.

“[The knee] is better than it was,” White said.

While the knee was healthy enough for him to rejoin his team, something new popped up during his preseason physical.

“During the physical they heard a clicking in my heart,” White explained. “They told me I had to get an EKG. My grandma was freaking out.”

Diagnosed with a heart murmur, White had to wait nearly a week for his medical tests to come back. He was then released to play.

“For four to five days, I was wondering if I was going to get to play football again and what else would I do,” White said. “I was then told it wasn’t anything major and I could play.”

Since he rejoined the team, Alvord coach Pete Hart said White continues to improve.

“Last week he was back full time,” Hart said. “We’ve been rotating a lot of people in the secondary but when Jaylon has been in, he’s been effective.”

White picked off two passes last year and knocked down three more.

“He can be a clamp-down corner,” Hart said. “He can shut a person down and he’s got enough speed that they are not going to get behind him.”

White is also fearless from his cornerback spot, not backing down from any receiver.

“I like the challenge,” he said. “You have to have quickness and be able to react and read the offense.”

On offense at receiver, White caught 18 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns last year. He added 115 yards rushing.

He actually prefers playing receiver to cornerback.

“I like being able to make good catches and helping the team out,” White said. “But I’m starting to like defense more.”

No matter where he’s playing, White is just grateful for the opportunity to once again be on the field.

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Football: Alvord opens with old rival

The Alvord Bulldogs will open the season with an old district rival Friday as the Nocona Indians come to town.

The Bulldogs and Indians kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Alvord, who starts its first season with Pete Hart as head coach, will be looking to settle the score with a Nocona squad that beat them 35-21 last year in district play.

“If we say we’re a good football team, we need to play with teams like Nocona,” Hart said. “This sets the tone for the season. We need to go out with the intent to win.”

The Indians enter the season replacing several starters on both sides of the ball. Catalino Hernandez returns as the Indians’ top receiver after catching 30 passes for 481 yards and five touchdowns. Christian Ibarra is expected to start at quarterback.

“They’ve got a good quarterback who runs and throws well,” Hart said. “Their line blocks well. All their backs and receivers run hard.”

Hart added that Nocona will test them on the edges with lots of screens to their backs and receivers along with Ibarra running the ball.

After watching his teams in scrimmages against Era and Sacred Heart, Hart wants to see more out of the Bulldogs’ offensive and defensive lines.

“We need to play more physical,” Hart said.

The offensive line may be without center Evyn Beasley this week, who was questionable Monday. The Bulldogs also may be without their top two fullbacks Damon Ledet and Mason Clower.

“That will hurt us,” Hart said.

Quarterback Cassidy Patterson is back to full speed after being slowed in preseason workouts. The Bulldogs’ also should feature Joe Randall, who enters the game 121 yards shy of 3,000 career yards.

NOCONA (0-0) AT ALVORD (0-0)

7:30 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium

Nocona: Harris Rating 184

Notable: The Indians’ quarterback Christian Ibarra is coming off ACL injury.

Alvord: Harris Rating 188

Notable: Joe Randall is 121 yards away from 3,000.

Harris line: Nocona by 7

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Alvord ISD’s budget, tax rate down

With last year’s big paving project on the ground and paid for, Alvord ISD Superintendent Bill Branum said the district’s proposed budget and tax rate are both a little smaller for 2014-2015.

The proposed operating budget for next year is $7,222,956 – about $290,000 less than the current 2013-14 operating budget.

“This reduction is mostly due to the fact that the major expenditures for paving have been completed,” Branum said this week. The budget was discussed in a school board work session Aug. 12.

Branum noted that the instructional budget is increasing by about $192,000 – to $3,869,000 – due to the addition of art being offered on each campus, an assistant principal position at the elementary campus and the startup of a volleyball program at the middle school and junior varsity levels.

Branum said the food service budget has also increased by about $12,000, and bond payments for the new middle school and high school addition are going up about $3,000. The proposed food service budget is $440,348 for the fiscal year, and bond payments are $814,000.

The total of the proposed operating, food service and debt service budgets is $8,477,304 for 2014-15.

The proposed tax rate to fund that is $1.3540 – down a penny from last year. The proposed rate includes $1.17 for maintenance and operations and $0.1840 for debt service.

Branum told the board in its July 31 meeting that a 6.37 percent rise in property values would likely require the district to return between $89,000 and $110,000 to the state under the Robin Hood finance system.

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H.L. Spain

H.L. “Bill” Spain

H.L. “Bill” Spain, 90, of Alvord, died Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, in Decatur.

Memorial service was Aug. 21 at First United Methodist Church of Alvord with the Revs. Sam Campbell, Veronica Greanead and Tom Merritt officiating.

Bill was born Feb. 23, 1924, in Fort Worth to Lowrey and Velma (Thomas) Spain. He married Betty Jean Ball May 31, 1946 in Decatur and retired from the U.S. Postal Service after more than 30 years of service.

He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Alvord. Bill served in the U.S. Marines.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Betty Spain; and brothers Marion Spain and Wayne Spain.

Survivors include his daughter, Cammy Terrell and husband, Kent, of Chico; grandsons Zach Terrell and wife, Emma, of Denton, and Tyler Terrell of Denton; and many other family members and friends.

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Football: Randall scores in Alvord scrimmage

On his second carry of the night Saturday, Alvord senior Joe Randall broke through the heart of the Era defense and dashed his way 59 yards for a touchdown.

It was the lone touchdown on the night for the Bulldogs, who gave their four-year starter, who is nearing 3,000 career yards, limited touches.

Looking for Room

LOOKING FOR ROOM – Alvord’s Damon Ledet turns the corner during a scrimmage against Era Saturday. Messenger Photo by Mack Thweatt

“We didn’t run Joe a lot. We wanted to get a look at some other people,” said Alvord coach Pete Hart. “We needed to answer some questions about some people in certain positions.”

Alvord played with two reserves on the offensive line. Quarterback Cassidy Patterson also played sparingly as Connor Patterson took a good share of the snaps under center.

Hart said he liked his team’s effort in the scrimmage, but he expressed some concern about the execution on offense.

“As we got tired, we got to standing up more,” Hart said. “It’s a work in progress. We missed a lot of blocks. A lot of times, it was one guy. But for us to be successful, it has to be five for five.”

Defensively, the Bulldogs limited Era to two scores. The Hornets put together a nine-play drive on their first set of plays and later scored on a screen play.

Alvord held Era without a first down on its first set.

“[Their misdirection] confused us early,” Hart said. “The second time the ones were out there we started making stops.”

Randall picked off a pass on Era’s final possession.

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Alvord puts line together

With 1,200-yard rusher Joe Randall and several other skilled players returning, the group under the microscope in Alvord as the season nears is the offensive line.

The unit is looking to replace a pair of starters to fill in around center Evyn Beasly, guard Hunter Talon and tackle Hayden Tillison.

Through the first week of practice, Alvord coach Pete Hart is encouraged by the progress of the group. Their first test will be at 6 p.m. Saturday against Era in a scrimmage.

“We’re looking at eight players and trying to find five,” said Hart. “We have eight or nine linemen that we believe can perform at a high level.

“Going in, that was a concern. But at this point, they’ve done a good job. We’re watching to see if the chemistry is there.”

Beasly agreed with Hart that the unit is coming together.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. “We’ve simplified the blocking schemes. We have a lot of options on the offensive line.”

As they play, Tillison said the group will get better.

“We’re coming along,” he said. “The key for the offensive line is communication and trusting each other to do the job.”

With a back like Randall, who is nearing 3,000 yards for his career, and an experienced quarterback in Cassidy Patterson, Beasly said the group just needs to slow defenders down for an instant to open up opportunities for the playmakers.

“We just need to hold on for a few seconds and then get some down field blocks for Joe,” Beasly said.

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