Education Briefs for Wednesday, January 21, 2015


FFA CHAPTER SHOW – The Decatur FFA Chapter Show is Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Decatur FFA Project Center. The show will include heifers, lambs, goats, steers and pigs and is open to all members of Decatur FFA. Registration is 9 to 9:30 a.m. (weight cards due by 9:30), and the show starts at 10. Cost is $10 per entry. Showmanship will be followed by the respective species show, as well as a celebrity showmanship contest. Dustin Burke will serve as judge. Call Jim Allsup, 940-393-7286; Joey Brooke, 940-393-7297; or Meghan Woodall, 940-393-7285.


GLOW RUN – The Paradise High School junior class is sponsoring a glow run Sunday, Jan. 25. For information or to sign up, go to

PARENT MEETING – There will be a baseball parent meeting on 5 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 22, in the high school cafeteria.

STOCK SHOW WINS – Paradise High School students Haley Rector and Mason Cline were named Reserved Division Winner in ag mechanics at the Fort Worth Stock Show Saturday. The livestock judging team took first place at the stock show.

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Basketball: Lady Panthers finish first half with rout

The Paradise Lady Panthers finished the first half of District 9-3A play Friday with a firm grasp on the league’s second playoff seed.

The Lady Panthers blew out Henrietta 68-26 to move to 6-1 in district.

Kaylee McConnell led the Lady Panthers with 19 points. Courtney Kerr had 10 points. Taylor Richards finished with nine points. April Coursey had seven.

Paradise started the second half against Jacksboro Tuesday. The Lady Panthers will play City View at home Friday.


The Nocona Lady Indians had no answer inside for Boyd’s Lindsey Thorpe Friday.

Thorpe ripped Nocona for 24 points in the Lady Yellowjackets’ 58-46 win.

The Lady Yellowjackets finished the first half of 9-3A play in third place at 5-2. Boyd took on league leader Bowie Tuesday and will face Holliday Friday.

Thorpe had in Boyd’s 20-point first quarter. She then chipped in 12 points the second half.

Kenzie Elkins joined her in double figures with 11 points.

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Basketball: Panthers hold off Henrietta

The Paradise Panthers shot 80 percent at the free-throw line and made a second half surge to get past Henrietta Friday 49-46.

The Panthers moved to 2-3 in District 9-3A with their second straight win.

“It was a huge win for us as it gave us a victory over one of the teams ahead of us in the standings,” said Paradise coach Cody Chandler. “The boys played extremely hard and made several huge free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.”

Paradise finished 12-for-15 from the line.

Landry Norwood led the Panthers with 17 points. Cash Preather had 11.

Paradise was down 29-23 at halftime. The Panthers went on a 14-9 run to pull within one, 28-27, going into the fourth quarter. Paradise outscored Henrietta 22-18 in the final frame.

Paradise played host to Jacksboro Tuesday. It will welcome in City View Friday.


The Nocona Indians outlasted the Boyd Yellowjackets 71-59 Friday.

Trey Gordon led Boyd with 22 points. Trace Moran had 12.

Boyd tried to rebound Tuesday against Bowie. The Yellowjackets close the first half of district Friday at Holliday.

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Meeting Agendas for Saturday, January 17, 2015

BRIDGEPORT SCHOOL BOARD – The Bridgeport School Board will discuss the start-up costs of a new soccer program at the high school at Monday night’s meeting. The agenda also includes reviewing price quotes for electronic signs on all four campuses, nominations for Wise County Appraisal District board of directors, a review of the district’s Energy Conservation Policy and a discussion about the construction of a new agriculture science barn at the high school. The meeting is 7 p.m. at 2107 15th Street.

CHICO SCHOOL BOARD – The Chico School Board will perform the annual superintendent evaluation and take action on his contract at Monday’s meeting. The agenda also includes a facilities review committee update, a report on the annual cost savings from ESC Region 11, nominations for Wise County Appraisal District board of directors, a monetary donation from Noel and LeAnn Ruddick for the Ryan Ruddick Memorial Scholarship Fund and other regular monthly business. The meeting is 7 p.m. in the Chico Elementary School Cafetorium, 1120 Park Road.

PARADISE CITY COUNCIL – The Paradise City Council will consider whether or not to waive the Paradise Historical Society’s water deposit. The Council will hear reports from the Paradise Economic Development Corp., as well as the Planning and Zoning Commisiion, Water Department and Building Department. The council meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall.

PARADISE SCHOOL BOARD – The board will meet and hold a hearing at 6 p.m., where assistant Superintendant Patti Seckman will present reports on Texas Academic Performance Report, PEIMS Financial Standard Report, Campus Performance Objectives, Violent or Criminal Incidents Report and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Report. Following the hearing the board will have a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. where the board will discuss a budget ammendment and a district policy update.

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Basketball: Panthers outlast Yellowjackets

Heading into the final frame with a two-point lead, the Paradise Panthers turned up the defensive pressure.

GETTING POSITION – Paradise’s Cash Preather posts up at the top of the key during the Panthers’ win Tuesday over Boyd. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

The Panthers held Boyd without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the quarter, going on an 11-1 run on the way to a 55-45 victory Tuesday night at Boyd High School gym.

“The defensive intensity picked up, even playing eight to nine guys,” said Paradise coach Cody Chandler. “It started when we stopped giving up defensive rebounds. We held them to just 17 points in the second half.”

The victory ended Paradise’s three-game skid to start District 9-3A.

“We needed to get that first win. The first win of the season and the first win of district are difficult,” Chandler said. “Once you get off zero, it gets easier. We played three of the tougher teams to start district.”

Boyd fell to 2-2 in district with the loss. Boyd went just 2-for-5 from the field in the fourth quarter and turned the ball over seven times.

The Yellowjackets didn’t have a field goal in the final frame until Trey Gordon’s layup with 47 seconds left.

“It all started in the third,” said Boyd point guard Trace Moran. “We got down and had no momentum going to the fourth. They got the momentum and we never got it back.”

Paradise’s big men – Caiden Berry, Cash Preather and Hayden Barkley – took control in the second half, combining for 20 points.

“We’ve been working to get the ball inside more,” Berry said. “It helped out.”

Berry had eight of his 16 points in the third quarter. His basket inside and free throw in the final minute sent Paradise into the fourth with a 40-38 lead.

“Caiden has been an all-or-nothing guy this year. Lately, it’s been a lot more all,” Chandler said. “The sky’s the limit for him.”

Boyd struggled to contain Paradise’s big men, especially after Reece Jordan got into early foul trouble. Barkley had seven of his 10 in the fourth quarter. Preather added three of his 12 down the stretch.

“Inside, their quickness got us,” said Boyd coach Oscar Hernandez. “Reece got into foul trouble real fast. They were just quicker than us.”

Boyd battled back from an 18-12 deficit in the first quarter to tie the game at halftime at 28. Moran put in nine of his 12 in the second.

Gordon led Boyd with 16.

The Yellowjackets trailed the entire second half.

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Basketball: Kerr, Paradise hold off Boyd

After 31 minutes of frantic and sometimes sloppy basketball Tuesday, Courtney Kerr went to the free-throw line trying to nurse home a lead for the Paradise Lady Panthers.

POWERFUL RESERVE – April Coursey drives to the bucket for the Lady Panthers Tuesday against Boyd. She had six points off the bench. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Kerr delivered, hitting 4-for-4 free throws in the final 27 seconds to lift the Lady Panthers to the 36-33 victory over the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets at Boyd High School gym.

“Against Bowie I made only one of six free throws,” Kerr said. “All week, I was shooting nothing but free throws. Every time, I’d shoot like 30 free throws.”

Kerr finished with a team-high 12 points, scoring eight in the fourth quarter as Paradise (19-5) took over sole possession of second-place in District 9-3A at 5-1.

“Courtney stepped up at the end,” said Paradise coach Kevin Pope. “Like everyone else, she was not having a great game. But big-time players and teams come through at the end. She came up big in the fourth quarter.”

Kerr’s free throws stopped Boyd’s late rally behind Kenzie Elkins. The Boyd senior scored nine of her 17 points in the fourth quarter as Boyd fought back from nine points down. Elkins hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 56 seconds left to cap a 6-0 run and pull the Lady Yellowjackets within one at 32-31.

“It helped they were running to Abby [Harrell] and it opened it up for me,” Elkins said.

After Kerr hit a pair of free throws with 27 seconds left, Boyd missed its shot on the other end. Kerr hit two more free shots to make it a two-possession game with six seconds remaining.

“The key was, they made the free throws down the stretch,” said Boyd coach Brandon Hopkins.

“We played good defense and so did they. They get after you and pressure you. We needed to slow down the turnovers. We had 16 in the first half. But we came back and battled.”

Boyd finished with 29 turnovers.

Paradise also had trouble holding on to the ball, committing 21 turnovers. The Lady Panthers also couldn’t knock down shots. Paradise went 1-for-10 from the field in the first quarter to lead just 3-2. Paradise owned a 14-11 halftime lead.

Paradise finished 13-for-37 shooting.

“We missed a few easy shots,” Kerr said. “We weren’t sure if they were going to come out in man or zone. Their man bothered us.

“A win is a win, and we pulled it out.”

The Lady Panthers got a critical boost from their bench in the second half. Paradise’s reserves outscored Boyd 14-0.

“We have the best bench in the district,” Kerr said.

Reserve guards Madi Horne and April Coursey provided 12 points after halftime. Horne’s 3-pointer with 6:40 left extended Paradise’s lead to 26-17.

“Madi and April gave us some great minutes – but they are expected to,” Pope said. “We tell our kids over and over that you can’t let starting or not get in the way of being a good player. Every player has a value and contributes.”

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Basketball: Boyd blocks City View, 50-39

After Abby Harrell’s strong start on the perimeter, Lindsey Thorpe took over inside Friday as the Boyd Lady Yellowjackets took down City View, 50-39.

Harrell hit four 3-pointers, three in the first half, finishing with 14 points. Thorpe led Boyd with 16, putting in 12 in the second half.

Kenzie Elkins finished with nine points and Sophia Scott seven.

Boyd improved to 4-1 in 9-3A and 17-2 overall. The Lady Yellowjackets met Paradise, who they shared second place in the league with Tuesday. Boyd closes out the first half of district play Friday at Nocona.


The Paradise Lady Panthers rebounded from their first loss in District 9-3A in impressive fashion Friday.

The Lady Panthers held Holliday to just 21 points in a 43-21 victory. Paradise improved to 4-1 in 9-3A and 18-5 overall.

Courtney Kerr led Paradise with 15 points. Kaylee McConnell and Amber French added seven.

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Basketball: ‘Jackets leave City View in ruin

Trey Gordon knocked down three 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 21 points as the Boyd Yellowjackets hammered City View 68-52 Friday.

Gordon hit a pair of treys in the Yellowjackets’ 22-point second quarter.

He was one of three Boyd players in double figures. Trace Moran chipped in 12. Reece Jordan added 10 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. Brandon Hardee finished with nine points.

The Yellowjackets improved to 12-7 and 2-1 in District 9-3A. Boyd took on Paradise Tuesday and will play at Nocona Friday.


The Paradise Panthers slipped to 0-3 in District 9-3A Friday with a 55-41 loss to league leader Holliday.

Paradise coach Cody Chandler said his team battled despite being without one of its top shooters because of the flu.

“We played really hard and kept battling all the way ’til the end,” he said. “It was as close as four in the second half, but we never could get any closer as we gave up a big run.”

Paradise went to play rival Boyd Tuesday and will meet Henrietta Friday.

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John Robert Diffenderfer

John Robert Diffenderfer

John Robert Diffenderfer, 63, of Paradise, died Friday, Jan. 9, 2015, in Decatur.

Memorial service is 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at Jones Family Funeral Home in Bridgeport with Pastor Joey Vick officiating.

No visitation is scheduled.

John was born Feb. 25, 1951, in Yazoo, Miss., to John Benham and Hazel Beatrice (Warren) Diffenderfer. He served his country in the Army and later made his career as a roofer. He enjoyed spending time with family.

John was preceded in death by his parents; and son Michael Trevino.

He is survived by his wife of nine years, Carol Ann Diffenderfer; son Jamey Wade Diffenderfer; daughters Tessa LeRae Diffenderfer and Tracy Trevino; brother Paul Wayne Diffenderfer; seven grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

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Basketball: Big shots sink Paradise – Bowie 3s lead to win in 9-3A showdown

The Bowie Lady Jackrabbits Tuesday knocked down big shots on the perimeter in the first half to take the lead.

COMING UP SHORT – Paradise’s Kaylee McConnell drives to the basket. The Lady Panthers fell to Bowie Tuesday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

But their lone three-pointer of the second half – from Courtney Brady with 3:25 remaining – may have been the biggest shot of the night, stopping the Paradise Lady Panthers’ rally and putting Bowie back up nine.

The Lady Jackrabbits went on for the 57-46 victory at Bowie High School gym.

“It was a six-point game and No. 10 [Brady] hit that big shot,” said Paradise coach Kevin Pope. “We knew she was a good player.”

Brady finished with a game-high 16 points, helping Bowie (17-5) stay unbeaten in District 9-3A. Paradise (17-5) suffered its first league setback, falling to 3-1.

“It’s one district game. It’s a 14-game district season,” Pope said. “You can’t get too high over a win or too low about a loss. We’ve got to get ready for Friday.”

After going scoreless with five turnovers in the first 5:41 of the game, Bowie started knocking down shots. Kamryn Cantwell hit two 3s in the final two minutes of the first quarter to pull Bowie within one, 11-10.

Bowie hit three more 3-pointers in the first half. Brady’s trey with 3:20 left in the half capped a 17-1 run that put Bowie in front 27-14. The Lady Jackrabbits led 29-19 at the break.

“We hang our hat on playing good defense,” Pope said. “We had a bad defensive second quarter. They hit five 3s in the first half and that was the difference in the game.”

Paradise struggled to hit enough shots to keep up, shooting 36 percent (17-for-46) for the game. The Lady Panthers were just 2-for-8 with six turnovers in the second quarter.

“We were close to them and missed a couple of easy shots,” said Paradise senior Courtney Kerr, who finished with 14 points.

Paradise also hurt itself at the free-throw line, going 10-for-20.

After her teammates hit big shots on perimeter, Bowie post Jordan Brightwell took over inside. She scored seven of her 14 in the third quarter as Bowie went up 17, 44-27. Brightwell also hauled down 13 rebounds.

Paradise closed the gap to 12, 44-32, on a Madi Horne layup at the end of the quarter.

The Lady Panthers locked down defensively, forcing four turnovers in the first four minutes of the final frame. With a 6-0 run, Paradise pulled within six on Kaylee McConnell’s layup with 3:40 left.

“We were jumping passes and had a good run,” Kerr said.

But Paradise couldn’t get any closer after Brady’s shot.

McConnell finished with 14 points. Amber French added seven.

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Basketball: Jackrabbits run by Panthers

The Paradise Panthers answered the Bowie Jackrabbits’ opening 7-0 run with an 11-0 run of its own.

SURROUNDED – Paradise’s Caiden Berry and John Bridgeman challenge a Bowie player Tuesday as he drives to the basket. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

But the Jackrabbits had a few more surges in them. Bowie used a 12-0 run to take the lead in the second quarter and a 13-3 spurt in the fourth quarter to put the game away in a 55-40 victory at the Bowie High School gym.

“We started off with the three turnovers to start the game and it’s so hard to get back in it,” said Paradise coach Cody Chandler. “We came back and took the lead and then next thing we’re down 20-12.

“We didn’t do the little things that we’ve been doing to win games. We were hurrying shots. We were not rebounding the ball. We didn’t take any charges.”

The Jackrabbits hurt Paradise on the offensive glass, with many of their 13 offensive rebounds leading to second-chance points.

Gary Mosley led that effort, pulling down eight. He also chipped in 10 points.

Chase Hall led Bowie with 13 points. Cooper Cantwell added 10.

Caiden Berry paced Paradise with 10. He had seven in the third quarter. His basket with 4:01 left in the frame pulled the Panthers within four, 29-25.

Bowie ended the third quarter on a 6-0 run to take a 37-28 lead into the fourth.

The Panthers never got closer, with Bowie putting the game away at the free-throw line, going 11-for-14 in the final eight minutes.

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Kimberly Clara Grant

Anthony and Amanda Grant of Paradise announce the birth of a daughter, Kimberly Clara Grant, on Nov. 3, 2014, at Wise Regional Health System in Decatur.

She weighed 8 pounds, 11 ounces and was 18 inches long.

She has one brother: Aiden Grant, 3.

Grandparents are Meredith Liddick of Springtown, Jay Liddick and Kimberly Andress.

Great-grandparents are Milton Andress of Boyd, Kay McEachern of Springtown, Dave Holt of Seagoville and Elaine Andress.

Great great-grandparents are Olene Peterson of Saginaw, Conway Peterson, William and Clara Andress and Shade and Dovie Slimp.

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Basketball: Nocona clips Panthers – Paradise comes up short in 9-3A opener

For the final seven minutes Saturday, the Paradise Panthers and Nocona Indians traded big shots and the lead.

The Panthers’ final shot just wouldn’t fall.

TAKING A SHOT – Paradise’s Caiden Berry attempts a shot during the Panthers’ loss to Nocona Saturday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

After Landry Norwood broke down the Nocona defense and made a dish inside, Hayden Barkley’s shot rattled around the rim and off with 2 seconds left, allowing the Indians to escape with the 66-65 victory in the District 9-3A opener at Paradise High School gym.

“The last two-and-half minutes, everything we drew up the kids ran exactly the way we wanted,” said Paradise coach Cody Chandler. “I thought [Barkley] got fouled on the end there. It’s a situation you expect a foul.

“It was a great effort. The kids battled from start to finish. There’s 14 games in district. That’s just one of them.”

Paradise and Nocona traded the lead eight times in the fourth quarter. The Panthers’ Spencer Forsyth drained a 3-pointer with 7:15 remaining that put Paradise ahead for the first time since the early in the first quarter. Paradise went up by three, 57-54, extending its run to open the fourth to 8-0.

But Nocona quickly answered with a 3-pointer to tie the game and another trey to regain the lead with 4:45 left. Nocona went 12-for-26 from beyond the 3-point arc, seven of them coming in the first half.

“The first half they got us a lot by driving and pitching out for the 3s and then also getting offensive rebounds and hitting 3s,” Chandler said. “The second half we didn’t give up as many offensive rebounds.”

Paradise took the lead with 1:56 remaining as Caiden Berry fought through a defender inside to lay the ball in. The lead lasted until Nocona’s Kameron Hill’s drive the basket with 36 ticks left.

Paradise countered with Barkley catching an inbound pass from Cash Preather and laying it in with 17.5 to go.

Needing an answer, the Indians forced the ball into the frontcourt to Hill, and he got inside for the go-ahead hoop with 11.2 left – his 28th point. Hill scored Nocona’s final six points.

Norwood worked the ball ahead and inside before giving it up. The Panthers’ leading scorer for the game Barkley, who finished with 17 points and seven rebounds.

“We’ll get them next time,” Norwood said. “We’ve still got 13 games. This one is not going to kill us.”

Norwood had 13 points. He hit three straight 3-pointers late in the second quarter, cutting a 10-point Nocona lead to one, 34-33. Nocona took a 38-35 lead into the locker room.

Nocona went back up seven with 2:25 left in the third but could never put Paradise away until the final buzzer.

Berry tossed in 11 for the Panthers. Preather chipped in 10.

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Basketball: Lady Panthers drum Nocona

The Paradise Lady Panthers locked down defensively and never gave an inch Saturday against the Nocona Lady Indians.

LEADING THE WAY – Paradise’s Kaylee McConnell drives to the basket for two of her 21 points during the Lady Panthers’ win Saturday. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Paradise limited Nocona to just six field goals and forced 29 turnovers in a 73-27 rout at Paradise High School gym.

“We really focus on defense. That’s our foundation,” said Paradise senior Kaylee McConnell. “We played real aggressive and tried not to foul.”

In the first half, the Lady Panthers sent Nocona to the free throw line 21 times – but that turned out to be the Lady Indians’ only offense.

Nocona scored 12 of their 17 first-half points at the line. Paradise made adjustments at halftime and Nocona did not have a free-throw attempt in the second half, committing 13 turnovers and hitting just four of its 23 field-goal attempts.

“The first half, we were sloppy on defense with not as good defensive technique as we needed,” said Paradise coach Kevin Pope. “We didn’t make any technical adjustments in the second half. We just started taking care of the fundamentals.”

With the victory, Paradise moved to 3-0 in District 9-3A and set up the showdown with co-leader Bowie Tuesday.

“It should be a great game,” Pope said. “Bowie is obviously very good and has played a strong schedule, as we have. It will be a challenge. We need to step up to the level of a ranked team.”

Before taking a seat early in the fourth quarter with the Lady Panthers up by 35 points, McConnell turned in a solid game on both ends of the floor. She spearheaded the defensive effort with five steals, and on offense, the guard dished out four assists and relentlessly attacked the basket to scored 21 points.

“My shots weren’t going in and they were leaving the lane open,” McConnell said. “I was able to get to the basket and finish.”

McConnell scored 12 in the first half on eight shots. She was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free-throw line. She stayed aggressive in the second half, getting inside and making four of her six attempts.

“The strength work we did in the spring and summer has really helped her,” Pope said. “She’s a lot stronger player.”

Courtney Kerr joined McConnell in double figures with 13. She went 5-of-7 from the field in the first half, scoring 11. Kerr’s 3-pointer with 6:20 left in the first half put Paradise up 24-9.

The Lady Panthers went up 23 in the final minute of the first half. Nocona’s Magye Fenoglio ended the half with a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 20, 37-17, at halftime.

Fenoglio’s trey was Nocona’s first field goal since the final minute of the first quarter.

Paradise opened the second half on a 13-0 run to go up 33 points, 50-17. The Lady Panthers’ lead surpassed 40 in the middle of the fourth.

Madi French finished with nine points and seven rebounds for the Lady Panthers. Shelby Bradshaw scored seven and pulled down five boards.

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Basketball: Paradise returns to 9-3A play – Lady Panthers finish 2-2 at tourney in College Station

The Paradise Lady Panthers went 2-2 at the McDonald’s Invitational in College Station, finishing up with a 67-36 win over Alvord.

The Lady Panthers now will head back into 9-3A play Saturday, taking on Nocona before a showdown with Bowie Tuesday.

But Paradise coach Kevin Pope is not looking past Nocona to the Tuesday’s matchup of league co-leaders.

“I don’t feel we’re a strong enough team that we can overlook anyone,” Pope said. “Nocona has two explosive players and has played good against some tough teams. After Saturday, we can start looking at Bowie.”

In College Station, Paradise lost to Sunnyvale, ranked No. 2 in the latest Texas Association of Basketball Coaches 3A poll, 45-30.

“We got off to a slow start but played them tough,” Pope said. “We outscored them in the second half.”

Paradise came back to beat Anahuac 51-41. Mt. Vernon edged the Lady Panthers 40-39.

Paradise was then matched up with Alvord and pulled out the 31-point victory.

“We played some good teams. That’s the reason we went down there,” Pope said.

As the Lady Panthers head back into district play for its final 12 games, Pope is hoping to see his team build some consistency.

“We’re still up and down,” Pope said. “We’ll have poor stretches and great stretches. We’ll score 15 points in five minutes and then go scoreless in five minutes. There’s no rhyme or reason for it. It’s just us being our own worst enemy.”

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Show, benefit planned Jan. 10

Paradise will be a busy place Saturday, Jan. 10.

That morning, the Paradise Project Show will be held at the elementary cafeteria while the Paradise 4-H and FFA Livestock Show unspools at the Project Barn.

After a showmanship clinic in the afternoon, a steak dinner and bingo benefit are planned in the evening at the high school cafeteria.

All proceeds from the events go to the Paradise Buyers Association, to be used to purchase animals that go to the sale at the Wise County Youth Fair.

Food and crafts will be displayed and judged in the elementary cafeteria Saturday morning. All crafts, baked goods and photography should be brought in by 9 a.m. – the back doors will open at 8 a.m. for delivery.

Judging begins at 9:15 and projects can be viewed starting at 10:15.

The cafeteria will be locked and all projects must be out by 11:30.

The Grand and Reserve Champion food winners will be auctioned off during the project show that evening.

Also on Saturday morning, animals will be shown at the Project Barn with weigh-in starting at 7:30 a.m. and ending at 9:30 a.m.

The show begins promptly at 10 a.m. with the order tentatively set as:

  • Rabbits
  • Chickens
  • Beef Heifers
  • Heifer showmanship
  • Prospect Steers
  • Market Steers
  • Steer showmanship
  • Longhorns
  • Longhorn showmanship
  • Breeding Swine
  • Market Swine
  • Swine Market
  • Market Lambs
  • Lamb showmanship
  • Market Goats
  • Goat showmanship

That afternoon from 2 to 4, Paradise Ag Supporters will host a showmanship clinic for goats and lambs, for anyone who wants to learn more about showing those animals.

In the evening, a steak dinner and bingo game will be held beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the Paradise High School Cafeteria.

The ticket, $20 at the door, gets the bearer a steak, baked potato, beans, dinner roll, dessert and tea. Bingo will be played from 6-9 and a cake auction during the bingo will feature cakes made by some of the best cooks in Wise County.

The showmanship winners from the morning’s livestock show will be announced and receive their prizes during the evening festivities.

All proceeds go to the Buyers Association, a non-profit organization set up to help students from Paradise who make the sale at the Wise County Youth Fair.

Anyone with buyers association questions may contact Robin Meadows at (940)393-1903.

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Paradise Elementary School Honor Roll


FIRST GRADE: Chloe Bacon, Gage Brogan, Madalynn Brown, Noah carven, Hayden Dagley, Clerra Davis, Emily Epperson, Collin Euler, Kimber Euler, Kashlon Eustace, Caden Gibson, Jax Goodman, Macy Goodman, Tylle Green, Kason Hammond, Ethan Holland, Michael Holman, Bertley Jones, Maximus Jordan, Teagan Lambert, Brylee Leach, Leanne Uppe, Brooklyn Logue, Renlee Longenbaugh, Raquel Luevanos, Carter Mara, Payton Mathison, Cooper Meyers, Cadence Mortis, Karis Moss, Hallie Nelson, Rosemary Nicholson, Lucas O’Dell, Trinity Pace, Brianna Perez, Savannah Perez, Jayll Pope, Martha Ramirez, Noah Ratdlffe, Katelyn Read, Braden Roberts, Troy Sager, McKenzie Sanders, Slayde Shields, Bailey Smith, Layne Smith, Gage Sobleraj, Lucas Stockton, Nathaniel Swindell, Isabelle Valdez and Kike Villalobos.

SECOND GRADE: Robert Barnhart, Benjamin Burdine, Ansel Caddell, Pablo Canillo, MacKenzie Christensen, Alison Cox, Sarah Crawford, Kora DeBono, Cooper Denman, Keegan Fowler, Edyee Franks, Madison Gentry, Logan Harris, Erick Hernandez, Miguel Hernandez, Kimber Ingram, Emma Karg, Lillian Lowery, Henry Oberg, Audrey Pease, Lacy Pollard, Jaelyn Reynolds, Gracelyn Roberts, Cayson Slalnton, Mandy Stone, Blaine Sutton, Jozy Tierney, Julian Tucker, Payton Tucker, Landrie Waggoner, Rylan Williams, Ayden Winten;, Cooper Woodard and Gazey Yates.

THIRD GRADE: Taylor Bennington, Thomas Bennington, Joren Burkhalter, Collin Burross, LexI Clayton, Mary Cook, Amyliz Delgadillo, Leonardo Delgadillo, Koby Dickens, Kooper Dickens, Samantha Fesperman, Brooklyn Force, Damian Gonzalez, Cole Goodman, Jocelyn Hagar, Waylon Holl, Aubrey Jordan, Mad Kirble, Hunter Lawson, Jimmy Loza, Jose Luevanos, Brock Mathis, Austin Mathison, Laylyn Maxwell, Kaitlyn McCauley, Andrew Messenger, Morgan Mitschke, Mavis Read, Rylea Rowe, Tucker Sanders, Zechariah Sanders, Ulric Smart, Emma Tihor, Zoe Tucker, WyaH Tumer, Hudson Tumey, Layton Williams and Aaron Wilson.


FIRST GRADE: Caden Black, Undie Carpenler, Brayden Clark, Paige Gober, Miles Godwin, Landon Hardin, Deegan Holden, Nilla Huerta, Brooklynn Johnson, Rebekah Lopez, Seth Payson, Jenna Piper, Keira Ritter, Theresa Smith, Madden Taylor, Tristan Torres, Summer Underwood, Kolby I.Miey, Roy Wilson and Isabel Wood.

SECOND GRADE: Londyn Baker, Channing Beauvais, Wendy Blue, Tristian Carvell, Daniel Castleberry, Carsyn Cox, Delainye Dominguez, Maddison Doty, Emily Duran, Brooklynn Elliott, Darcy Etter, Isabella Fosler, Sarah Gonzales, Payton Harmon, Siara Hohstadt-Huckabee, Mallorie Hudson, Eleanor Hunler, Addison Hutto, Kolson Jenkins, Hayden Johnson, Kourtney Johnson, Dixie Lankford, Jasmine Lara, Gracie Livesay, Ruby Mara, Roselyn Marquez, Cash McCann, Nathan Miller, Landon Morrison, Dakota Mosley, Anna Perez, Jay Perez, Morgan Plunket, Rylee Rogers, Trista Sager, Amelia Schuh, Makenzee Smilh, Waylon SohI, Cade Tad, Trapper Tierce, Redik Wallon, Noah White, Kaden Wilbur, Kim’Berlynn Winters and Mason Worley.

THIRD GRADE: Halee Bacon, Alaina Buckner, Kane Chandler, Giselle Contreras, Rosendo Contreras, K’tlyn Davis, Aurelio Fernandez, Nicholas Fuller, Levi Gibson, Carson Green, Casen Green, Cyler Green, Morgan Grothe, Landon Holley, Cade Homer, Barrick Hughes, ‘Mil Johnson, Lukas Jones, Wanda King, Carter Kott, Kolby McCauley, Vandon Miramontes, Fabian Ortiz, Carla Ponce, Jack Rogers, Slade Shannon, Amelia Shults, Madison Skidmore, Makayla Skidmore, Lindsey Starnes, Arianna Tipton and Victor Villaneda Ibarra.

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Students head to the big show

Students head to the big show

Paradise agriculture students are prepping for one of the biggest and oldest livestock shows in Texas – one that brings huge crowds, and sometimes bitter cold.

The Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo has been a tradition for 118 years and promises a chance at big money for kids in grades 3-12. The show starts Jan. 16 and lasts until Feb. 7.

Ready to Win

READY TO WIN – Shelby Bradshaw (left), Reagan Taylor and Ray Edwards are among more than 40 Paradise agriculture students who will converge on the Fort Worth Stock Show in January, showing animals and vying for auction dollars as well as competing in ag mechanics and judging. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

It isn’t for the faint of heart. Paradise ag teacher Steven Bradshaw said the time commitment and discipline required for shows like Fort Worth’s are huge – but so can be the payoff.

Bradshaw will take more than 40 students back and forth as they show rabbits, cattle, sheep, goats and pigs, as well as ag mechanic and judging teams. The stock show ends with the coveted sales week where students vie for dollars. Bradshaw has had students earn from a couple hundred bucks to $20,000 from the auction.

STAYING WARM – The Fort Worth Stock show’s cold weather can be difficult for students showing swine, requiring more maintenance and attention. Messenger photo by Jimmy Alford

Three such students are Reagan Taylor, Ray Edwards and Bradshaw’s daughter, Shelby. Taylor is taking heifers, and Edwards is showing steers, while Shelby Bradshaw will show swine. Each will compete against dozens of other students in their breed’s class.

For these students, taking part in the stock show is more than just a school project. It’s a family affair – a way of life that’s full of experiences.

“I got into it when I was 6 years old,” Taylor said. “It was a family thing. My grandparents raised cattle. I’m a part of the Texas Junior Limousin Association and that brought me to the Fort Worth Stock Show. I’ve met so many different people from that show that I’ll be friends with for the rest of my life.”

She said the sheer number of people at the Fort Worth show can be staggering – something Shelby said can be frustrating when trying to get to the arena.

“It is a challenge getting through the barns and getting around everyone,” Shelby said. “There are people all around, and the area isn’t that big. It is very difficult to get folks to move because they don’t realize pigs are coming through. Sometimes [the pigs] freak out, and it takes 20 minutes to get to the ring.

“After you do it for five or six years, you get used to it and learn how to lead them in.”

Unlike some species, big shows like the one in Fort Worth are the end of the line for pigs. It’s called terminal because bringing swine back to the herd after being around so many others can be a health hazard.

Showing pigs also requires handlers to lead them in using a stick and no other devices like halters for cattle. This means she has to train many pigs daily.

“Right now we have 13 pigs on feed. We have shown at Houston, San Antonio and will show at county and Fort Worth,” Shelby Bradshaw said. “It’s very difficult. You have to walk them every day with a stick. You have to teach them that this tap means right and this tap means left and this one means go. Eventually, they learn because they are really smart.”

She has been showing since she was 5. Her dad had an obvious influence, as did it her brother, Zack, now a county agricultural extension agent in Brownfield.

She said her first experiences at the Fort Worth Stock Show were a bit intimidating.

“The first time I competed in Fort Worth I got 19th, and it was really scary because I was really little,” Shelby said.

She said the scariness is long gone. Now the only thing she dreads is the cold. Pigs don’t like the cold. She said cold weather means constantly changing bedding and keeping heat lamps on. Since her dad is the ag teacher, it mean working with other animals, too.

“I remember a couple years ago when just my dad and I were hauling everyone’s pigs down to Fort Worth because there was an ice storm,” she said. “That week presented other problems as people couldn’t get there to help with their animals.”

Taylor said cattle can actually benefit from the cold weather.

“The cold doesn’t affect them too badly,” she noted. “It helps because they get fluffier. It’s just hard on us. Sometimes you have to grit your teeth and take the gloves off and get your hands wet.”

This is Taylor and Shelby’s senior year and their last trip to Fort Worth. They’ll still show through the summer, but that’s the end of the line. Edwards still has about five years left to show. He admits it’s a lot of work and fun.

“I’ve been showing for four years, so this year will be my fifth,” he said. “I’m just looking forward to going because it’s a lot of fun. You get to meet interesting people, and I want to kick everyone’s butt with my steers.

“I always smile and do my best not to lose my temper with my animal. These are very large animals and have a mind of their own,” he said. “They can fight you for nearly everything you do. Currently, the biggest one I have is about 1,300 pounds, and I weigh 95 pounds soaking wet.”

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Tough enough to cheer: Cheerleaders compete, look forward to new UIL status

Smiles, bruises and sore muscles define what was once considered a sideline activity, but now is entering the field as a fully-vetted University Interscholastic League sport – cheerleading.

The girls practicing routines and doing stunts always knew what it took. They’re happy it’s finally getting the recognition it deserves.

Ready to Compete

READY TO COMPETE – The Paradise High School cheer team placed second in the Celebration Christmas Classic Dec. 14 at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland. Cheerleading has been added to the list of official UIL sports for 2015. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

UIL recently decided to add game-day cheer as a school sport. Starting in the 2015 school year, it will be governed like other middle and high school athletics and will include a state championship.

While UIL competition is still several months away, the Paradise Panthers have already tested their mettle against the best area schools have to offer. The holiday season brought an element of competition at the Dec. 14 Spirit Celebration Christmas Classic at the Curtis Culwell Center in Garland – a cheer competition that also collects toys for children.

The PHS cheer team placed second in the advanced high school division and was awarded best themed routine. Cheer team sponsor Leanna Thomas said it was the team’s first competition in a couple of years.

“I think [competition] is a good experience,” Thomas said. “It may be a once-in-a-lifetime thing for some of these girls. They’ve wanted to go to a real competition for a long time.”

She said the girls had prepared a 2-1/2 minute routine just for the classic – the sixth routine they’ve learned this year. Head cheerleader Makeala Beck said each routine takes weeks of practice.

“Cheer doesn’t end with football season,” Beck said.

The girls cheer during basketball games and other school events.

Like other team sports, cheerleading has its own dangers.

“During football season, we catch some passes on the sidelines, but during basketball season, we have to run to get out of the way more often,” Beck said. “We are more sore than many athletes ever are. I’d like to see them do this full-out, once, and see what they have to say.

“Just this week we’ve had teeth knocked out. We’ve had broken noses and cut faces.”

Beck received a plaque for her outstanding performance at the classic. She was one of 15 selected for the honor out of 4,000. Beck said she’s upset she won’t get to compete next year in UIL, because she’s a senior.

“We tell everybody that cheer is a sport,” Beck said. “Next year we get to prove that.”

It’s a sport that requires daily commitment and years of practice during the school year and summer.

Thomas said they have some time to work on routines in class, but the rest of their much-need practice time has to be squeezed in between extracurriculars and other sports in which the girls paricipate.

“We can only practice one day a week and we get in what we can,” Thomas said.

Haley Horne has been cheering for five years, and Taylor Phelps has been at it since she was 2. Both girls said they have to work hard to fit cheering into their already busy schedule but think cheering is well worth it.

“I used to do gymnastics, then when I was in junior high, cheer tryouts came up. I was like ‘Mom I want to do this!’ I jumped into it,” Horne said. “It takes a lot of time. You have to figure out what time you can do cheer then do stunt classes or tumbling classes. You have to work around that.”

Phelps said her mom was a cheerleader and that got her into the sport early.

“We did mommy-and-me classes when I was 2,” she said. “I went on from there and I did competition cheer until seventh grade. Then I made school cheer.”

Phelps and Horne both hope to cheer in college.

Thomas took 14 cheerleaders and one mascot to competition. Out of them, 10 will have a chance to return in 2015. Each cheerleader has three years of eligibility and has to pass a rigorous summer tryout judged by NCAA officials to join PHS cheer.

Thomas said she still hasn’t found out what the official parameters of the UIL competition will be, but she’s confident about her girls’ chances. She said their work ethic and camaraderie are strong.

“They are really a great group. Usually there is bickering and stuff, but there hasn’t been any. Everybody has different suggestions, and we work through it,” Thomas said. “Sometimes we vote on different things. Sometimes they get mad, but they get over it.

“This is the first year I’ve had a group that doesn’t fuss,” she added. “They work it out.”

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Paradise Student Spotlights for Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Paradise Elementary School


Thomas Bennington

Grade: 3rd

Parents: Ben and Karri Bennington

Favorite subject: Science

Activities: He loves to test and experiment with new ideas, work on old cars and loves anything to do with Texas A&M.

Why this student was chosen: “He represented our campus in three events for UIL. He placed in all and won two. He always has reputable character and is a great leader on our campus.” – Principal Robyn Gibson

Paradise Intermediate School


Kynlee Holt

Grade: 4th

Parents: Gary and Amie Holt

Favorite subject: Math

Activities: Jumping on her trampoline, playing with her cat, and playing basketball.

Why this student was chosen: “Kynlee is a self-motivated student who works hard and always does her best. She dedicates herself to her schoolwork and to the campus recycle team. She gets along with her classmates as well as her teachers. She always has a smile and a kind word for everyone.” – Principal Kristin Gage

Paradise Junior High


Laramie Dearing

Grade: 6th

Parents: Rodney and Venita Dearing

Favorite subject: P.E.

Activities: UIL oral reading, One Act Play and 6th grade vice president.

Activities: Basketball, volleyball, softball, rodeo (breakaway roping, team roping), singing, acting, public speaking, rodeo pageants, babysitting, 4-H, Junior FFA, giving riding lessons to little kids and volunteers at Grace Fellowship Church.

Why this student was chosen: “Laramie can light up any room when she enters. You will always get a smile and a hello from her. She loves to help others whenever she can. Her mission is to lead others by the way she lives her life. She works hard at school while juggling so many extracurricular activities. Her goals in life are to be a singer/actor, professional roper and a lawyer. ” – Principal Greg Fletcher

Paradise High School


Joey Lopez

Grade: 12th

Parents: Joseph and Christie Lopez

Favorite subject: Algebra

Activities: Multi-media projects, Photoshop and other editing programs. He also enjoys visiting with others and making new friends. He is an avid video game player. Joey is an active member of FBC Paradise Youth Group. He assists with social projects such as providing meals at homeless shelters and community outreaches with his youth group.

Why this student was chosen: “It is an honor to have Joey Lopez as a student at Paradise High School. Joey was the master of ceremonies at all pep rallies this school year, and he will announce basketball and softball games. Last school year, Joey handled the sound at graduation. He is responsible for taking down and folding the school flags every day, and he works out of the office 8th period. He is always willing to do what is asked and helps out any way he can.” – Principal Mark Mathis

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