The Panther Press

3rd Annual NLEF James A. Dawson Golf Tournament Slated

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
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Paris, TX – The third annual North Lamar Education Foundation(NLEF) James A. Dawson Golf Tournament in memory of Darrell White is scheduled for Saturday, October 1 at Paris Golf and Country Club.  Former North Lamar superintendent, James A. Dawson, is heading up the weekend event to raise scholarship money for North Lamar graduating seniors. 

Entry for the four-person scramble is $500 a team, which includes lunch on Saturday and water and soft drinks throughout the day. Players’ handicaps will be needed and each player will have one Mulligan per round. Traveling trophies will be awarded for gross and net winners.

Individuals or businesses may be a hole sponsor for $150. Sponsorship signs will be displayed on the tee box and in any other areas or publications.

All hole sponsors and players along with their spouses are invited to a hamburger dinner Friday night at Richard Drake’s Party Barn beginning at 6:00 p.m.  Following will be a live auction where guests can continue to support NLEF by bidding on a selection of desirable items.  Please RSVP to 903.669.0115 if planning on attending the hamburger dinner.

To enter a team or be a hole sponsor, contact James Dawson at 903.782.1842, Mike Kennedy at 903.908.4343, or Chris Jefferson at PG&CC - 903.784.1247.

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The Panther Press: Year Two

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
Panthers Basketball Team after a playoff win last year. 

Panthers Basketball Team after a playoff win last year. 

It's the first day of August and that means high school sports has already started in Texas. Football and Volleyball started their two-a-day workouts today. Marching band started their practices last week. It should be another fun year of North Lamar sports and school activities.

Last year we watched the football team continue to make strides in the right direction. The volleyball team continued their dominance in district. The girls basketball team, under new direction, started slow but finished well in the season. The boys basketball team made it to the regional tournament in Commerce for the first time in over 30 years. The baseball team finished two series wins away from the state tournament while the softball team finished runners-up in the state of Texas.

As a matter of fact, every girls sport at North Lamar made it to the playoffs. That was last year, though. This year brings new and exciting things to North Lamar. The football team will have five new faces on the sidelines this year, including Aaron Emeyabbi. Coach Emeyabbi is beginning his first year as the Athletic Director and Head Football Coach at North Lamar. He takes over a program that was under the direction of Tim Billings the last two seasons. Billings resigned in February to go back to the college coaching scene.

Football isn't the only sport with a new coach. The volleyball team will be under new direction as well as Ken Sims will take over. Coach Kathy Barker will remain on staff as the varsity assistant coach. There will also be a new baseball coach as Kent Craig will take over the job. Craig comes to North Lamar from Hughes Springs, where he's been the head baseball coach since 2012.

The Panther Press, once again, will be right there to bring you the action all year long. Last year was our inaugural year and we are hoping to make this year even bigger and better. There are plans in the works to start a podcast that will be all about North Lamar sports and the school. We are trying to finalize a sponsor to make this happen.

Another feature that we would like to start is called "The Student Section." This is a section of the website reserved for the students of North Lamar to submit articles. If interested, you can contact me via one of our social media outlets and we can get you the information needed for the article.

As always, we are trying to utilize social media more and more to engage with readers of The Panther Press. Be sure to follow them:

Facebook - The Panther Press
Twitter - @NL_PantherPress
Instagram - Thepantherpress1
Snapchat - pantherpress1

We truly hope that you do enjoy reading the articles and the game updates throughout the year. This is done for the students, the parents and everyone else interested in all things North Lamar. Here's to another outstanding year at North Lamar.

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The Addams Family Invades PCT

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
Jeff Cochran (Uncle Fester) rehearsing with several ancestors.  

Jeff Cochran (Uncle Fester) rehearsing with several ancestors.  

They have one of the most recognizable theme songs in television history. People of all ages know exactly when to snap their fingers. Of course I'm referencing the Addams Family television show of the 1960's. For 65 episodes, people laughed along with Gomez and Morticia.

On August 4th, the Addams Family will be invading the downtown plaza theatre for eight shows. The musical, which was first released on Broadway in April of 2010, will have audience members laughing as well as crying.

The show takes place inside the Addams home as Gomez (Cody Head) and Morticia (Thomasina Hill) host a dinner party for one of Wednesday's (Reily Preston) friends. The hilarity ensues as Uncle Fester (Jeff Cochran), Pugsly (Bella Hill) and Grandma (Amy Burrows) deal with the strangers like only they know how.

Auditions for the show took place in late May. For two months a cast of 24 have spent five to six nights a week in rehearsals. From choreography to music practice, they have spent the summer blocking and acting.

This production also has an elaborate set design. Every Saturday and Sunday, volunteers have helped construct the largest set PCT has seen in over three years. When the finished product is revealed on opening night, people will be amazed at the intricate details put into it by the cast.

North Lamar has a huge presence in the production of the Addams Family Musical. Many students (current, former and undecided) have given up their summer to help bring this musical to life. This includes the drama teacher, Mr. Head.

The Addams Family Musical opens August 4th and will run Thursday through Sunday for two weekends. Show times will be 7:30 pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday's performances will be at 2:30 pm. Tickets are on sale here or by calling the PCT office Monday through Friday from 10 am to 3 pm.

Ancestors working on choreography  

Ancestors working on choreography  

Complete Cast List:

Josef Ferguson - Director
Lindsey Espinosa - Assistant Director
Cody Head - Gomez Addams
Thomasina Hill - Morticia Addams
Reily Preston - Wednesday Addams
Bella Hill - Pugsly Addams
Jeff Cochran - Uncle Fester
Amy Burrows - Grandma
Greg Higgins - Lurch
Jim Hamaker - Mal Beineke
Michelle Hobbs - Alice Beineke
Nic Corpus - Lucas Beineke
Amanda Posey - Ancestor
Aubrey Scott - Ancestor
Ben Patrick - Ancestor
Brianna Herndon - Ancestor
Christina Paolino - Ancestor
Ella Amis - Ancestor
Grace Hignight - Ancestor
Hunter Rogers - Ancestor
Samantha de la Garza - Ancestor
Sarah Carl - Ancestor
Sarah Dilbeck - Ancestor
Sophie Carl - Ancestor
Steven Pyles - Ancestor
Taylor White - Ancestor

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North Lamar finishes 6th in Lone Star Cup

Off the FieldGreg Higgins

North Lamar ISD finished as 6th place in UIL’s 2016 4A Lone Star Cup standings. The annual award is given to six high schools, one in each of the six UIL classifications (1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A), based on their team performance in district and state championships.

Categories include State and Area Marching Band, Tennis, Team Tennis, Cross Country, Volleyball, Football, Swimming and Diving, Wrestling, Girls Basketball, Boys Basketball, Soccer, Golf, Track and Field, Academics, One Act Play, Softball and Baseball.

North Lamar finished with 60 points following 4A winner Argyle (134 points), number two Abilene Wylie (111 points), number three Kennedale (68 points), number four Texarkana Pleasant Grove (65 points) and number five Boerne (61 points).

Other classifications winners are 6A Austin Westlake (94 points), 5A Austin Vandegrift (115 points), 3A Brock (82 points), 2A Windthorst (60 points) and 1A Happy (43 points).

Winning schools in each of the classifications receive the UIL Lone Star Cup trophy and a $1,000 scholarship. The award is based on the best overall athletic and academic programs in Texas and is open to all UIL participating high schools.

This is the third consecutive year North Lamar has finished in the top 10 UIL Lone Star Cup rankings.

What I Learned from the Softball Team

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
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It's 12:45 in the morning and I just got back to the hotel room. After the team meeting at 9:00 this evening, I decided to drive across the highway and watch a movie. I wanted to do something to get my mind off the game. Unless you're living under a rock, you know exactly what game I'm talking about. And, since you're reading a website called The Panther Press, I'm assuming you're not under a rock and you're interested in North Lamar sports.

First things first, though. I have no ties to North Lamar. Let me clarify this statement. I never attended the school despite growing up in the area. I do not have kids that attend North Lamar, either. I have some cousins that are associated with the school but that is the only tie I have to it.

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Why did I say this? Let me explain. I am a nervous wreck. There you go. I said it. I'm wound up. I'm fired up. I'm ready to go play the game. So, if someone like me with no ties to the school is this fired up, I can't imagine what it's like for the players, coaches and family members. The hours of driving the students around to games and practices all come down to seven innings on Saturday morning.

I have had the amazing opportunity to watch this group of girls play all year long. I've travelled with them throughout the playoffs and stood in the dugout with them. I've watched them cry, and I've watched them yell with jubilation. I've watched parents go through every emotion known to mankind all in a single inning.

All the traveling we've done together and it took three days in Austin for me to learn the most valuable lesson I could learn from these girls. I've interviewed the majority of them for the website and I've taken hundreds of pictures this year. Yet none of that was as important as the lesson instilled in me this week.

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That lesson is simply this: Live in the moment. Like most adults I know I get caught up in tomorrow and what needs to be done later. I have my to-do lists and my calendar and I'm constantly thinking about the next article I want to write or the next interview I need to do.

Don't get me wrong, though. None of that is bad and planning is a good thing (in my opinion). Sometimes, though, we get so busy focused on tomorrow or yesterday that we forget about now.

I've watched a softball team make mistakes. I've watched errors committed. Nine times out of ten, though, the person that committed the error is the person that comes back with a huge hit or becomes the hero later in the game. None of that is possible if they dwell on the past.

I don't know what's going to happen in nine hours when the Pantherettes take on La Grange. Not sure of the outcome. I can tell you this, though. No matter what happens, there is a group of girls scattered throughout this hotel right now that are already champions in my book.

Thank you for a wonderful ride. Let's finish this.

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NLHS Choir Sings at Frisco Roughriders Game

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
North Lamar High School Choir Director Rebecca Hildreth directs members of the Chamber Singers as they sing the national anthem before the first pitch of the Frisco Roughriders baseball game.  

North Lamar High School Choir Director Rebecca Hildreth directs members of the Chamber Singers as they sing the national anthem before the first pitch of the Frisco Roughriders baseball game.

 

Last Saturday’s Frisco Roughriders, the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers, crowd was treated to “The Star-Spangled Banner” sung by the North Lamar High School Chamber Singers.  It was the first time the NLHS Choir performed before fans of the Roughriders.  Fox Sports Southwest televised the baseball game against the Midland RockHounds.

North Lamar’s choir began pre-selling tickets for the game in January. In doing so, fans received unlimited hot dogs, brats, chips, peanuts, and Dr. Pepper products in addition to a limited edition Roughriders souvenir, a game program, and the special promo for the day.

Temporary Leave of Absence

Greg Higgins
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Unfortunately at this time I will be unable to cover North Lamar sports in its entirety.  I am taking a very short break right now to cooperate with my Doctors and Physicians in order to complete some testing and observations.  I want to let my readers know that this is just temporary and I will be back as soon as possible.

I also want to wish the North Lamar Pantherettes good luck in the softball playoffs that begin tonight. I may not be there physically but I will be cheering loud and proud for you.

  Thank you for your continued support and understanding during this time. 

Identity of NL Tagger Remains Anonymous

Off the FieldGreg Higgins

It is unfortunate that in this day and time we have individuals who want to disrupt school activities by displaying graffiti or internet posts that raise alarm for our students, parents and school staff. Regardless, any remarks found or written in and around school facilities that propose some type of a threat will initiate a response by the local law enforcement.
North Lamar ISD Superintendent John McCullough said, “We understand our parents are very concerned about the safety of their children, and we are doing everything we can to assure them that their children are safe at school. All law enforcement agencies in Paris and Lamar County have been contacted, and they’re working with us in providing extra security at our campus during this week.”
A police investigation was started as soon as the graffiti was located by school personnel with around 40 individuals being interviewed so far regarding who might have been responsible for the placement of the graffiti. No suspects have been identified as of yet.
“As this investigation was in progress, other posts began appearing on a Facebook page which heightened the alarm of our community,” said Chief of Police Bob Hundley. “This particular lead was tracked down to a suspect in Canada, and we are coordinating that part of the investigation with Canadian authorities.”
“Throughout our investigation, we have received numerous accusations due to the spread of false information through social media, and we continue to investigate every lead that is brought to our attention,” said McCullough.
“Although we do not believe this graffiti is any kind of a credible threat, we take any kind of a threat very seriously and are working to identify who may have written on this wall,” said Chief Hundley. “The police officers assigned to the NLISD campus are certainly on a higher alert, as is the school staff along with other officers who are patrolling the area in marked and unmarked vehicles. We encourage anyone that may have information regarding this graffiti to contact the campus or Lamar County CrimeStoppers with information.”

North Lamar ISD threat determined to be non-credible

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
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During the week of April 4, a message was found scribbled on the walls of the boy’s restroom at North Lamar High School that warranted the attention of school administrators.  A photo of the message was additionally posted to social media.

Upon being notified of the threat, district officials activated its emergency response protocol by immediately contacting the District’s School Resource Officers.  North Lamar ISD began working closely with law enforcement agencies to identify the source of the message and to verify the safety of all campuses within the district.

“District and law enforcement officials at the Paris Police Department, Department of Public Safety and Lamar County Sherriff’s Department are aware of the situation and have been investigating the situation from the beginning,” said NLHS Principal Clint Hildreth.  “Investigators are looking into the source of the threat against the school and have been following up on any leads they may have. No factual threats are evident at this time.”

The investigation is ongoing as to the source of the threat against the school. Campus administration and law enforcement officials will continue to investigate this situation and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken on those who are found responsible.

“Although there has been nothing to substantiate a credible threat, expect to see an increase of law enforcement on the North Lamar campus this coming week,” said Superintendent John McCullough.  “We take threats very seriously.  Parents expect their children to be safe at school, and safety for our students and staff is our number one priority.”

Saying Goodbye to Coach Billings

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
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I wanted to let you know that I resigned today.

That's the text message I received at 10:01 Tuesday morning from coach Billings. My response was the same as most people when they received the news. I was shocked and confused to say the least. Was this a joke? Was this a ill-timed prank?

As the conversation continued through text message I realized this wasn't a joke or a prank. Coach Billings was leaving North Lamar. He was leaving to go back and coach at the college level.

As I broke the news on Social Media, I sat there in shock. Even though he had only been here for two years Coach Billings had impacted many lives. This included mine.

The Man

The first time I met him was at a softball game two years ago. It was his first week on the job at North Lamar and I talked to him for a few minutes at the game. I tried to impress him with my talk about football film watching. I tried making myself sound smart to this man. A man who has 30 years of coaching experience. I realized how foolish that was now, but at the time I was trying my hardest.

As I would learn over time this didn't impress him. Not that he didn't care but he wasn't impressed with people and what they said. Rather he was impressed with actions and how people lived their lives.

It was last April when North Lamar had a softball game in Texarkana against Pleasant Grove that I would learn even more. It was a make-up game on a Saturday and coach called me and asked if I wanted to ride with him to the game. I took him on the offer. For that afternoon, him and I rode and talked and got to know each other. I asked him lots of questions and he answered everyone of them.

I learned about his coaching career. I learned about the time he coached Randy Moss. I learned about the national championships and the game routines they have in college. He told me about his family and the trials he's had to endure through life. It's a four hour look into the life of a man that I had the upmost respect for.

This wasn't the only time I went to a game with him. I was fortunate enough to travel to Waco and watch the Baylor Bears take on the Rice Owls. I had never been to a college football game before and it was quite the experience to watch it with the man who had coached for so long at the college level.

This man lived football. He knew the game inside and out. He was a very passionate man. However football isn't his only passion. He's extremely passionate about family. Him and his wife could be seen at the different sporting events around North Lamar. He would often take weekend trips to visit his son or his daughter as well.

The School

As news broke about the resignation, my phone started going off. Text messages, phone calls, tweets. Everyone of them in response to my tweet that coach Billings was taking a position at Southern Mississippi. They were just as confused and shocked as I was.

The school will now begin the process of trying to find a new football coach and athletic director. This is a process that happened two years ago when coach Tommy Felty stepped down.

"I tried to bring a fresh excitement to the program. I feel like we got it going in the right direction." - Tim Billings

Coach Billings tried to do everything he can for the kids at North Lamar. The money raised during the annual fundraiser was used to modernize the football facility. Improvements were also made to the weight room. He wanted the kids to enjoy coming to work out.

In his two years as the head coach of the Panthers, coach Billings and his staff went 11-9. Both seasons ended against the Paris High Wildcats. They were games in which North Lamar would have made the playoffs if they had won the game.

For so many years, North Lamar ran the ball on 90% of their plays. Billings allowed coach Martin Bryant to open it up and spread the offense. Versache Buchanan was a dual threat quarterback that caused a lot of problems for defenses.

"If they get the right guy in there, this could be great." - Tim Billings

The Students

Obviously for some students, this impacts more than others. People like Trey Scudder, Julique Franklin and Versache are seniors and graduate this year.

"He taught me if you want something you have to put the work in that is required. I'm glad to have enjoyed him for my last two years and I'm appreciative of everything he's done for the program." - Trey Scudder

However, there are others like Ryder Bryant, Jake Stewart and Javon Franklin that are juniors and will not have coach Billings for their senior year.

"I was really hoping for him to still be here through my senior year." - Ryder Bryant

These students are the only ones wishing he would be here for their senior year. Parents also wishing he would be here. This shows the value of relationships in sports. Although he was only here for two years, coach Billings is already missed.

The relationships he forged while at North Lamar will last for a long time. I know it will for me. We had a unique relationship in that I would go to the field house and watch game film with the coaches on Saturday mornings. Most of the time he would ask me for my stats and use them.

I had no problem asking what in the world he was thinking on a certain play call or a certain situation. He had no problem telling me why they did that. He was this way with many of the athletes as well. He had no problem treating them like a person and getting to know them.

He and I established a good relationship from day one, and I'm really gonna miss him as a coach and a friend." - Jake Stewart

Although they came from one individual, it's pretty safe to say this statement echoes the thoughts and feelings of many people at North Lamar and the community.

When asked what one thing he has learned at North Lamar that will help him at the next level coach Billings simply responded, "to respect all student athletes and not just the really gifted ones."

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North Lamar Athletics Angel Tree Project

Off the FieldGreg Higgins

Once again, the North Lamar athletic department has decided to adopt a group of angels from within their own school district. A total of 22 kids within the North Lamar school district will find their Christmas a little more jolly this season.

All the athletic deparments are represented and are taking care of a certain number of kids. Each deparment is operating under a certain number of guidelines to raise money for the program. Last year, they raised $8,000 and this year they are hoping to reach $15,000.

After the money is raised, students will travel to local stores to purchase toys and other gifts for each of the angels in the program. They will also be providing Christmas dinner for families this year.

This is not a fundraiser for the athletic department at North Lamar. Every penny raised is used to help make Christmas a little more enjoyable for those in the community. If you would like to hlep donate money or other items of need, please contact Nicole Nielson at 903-737-2000 ext. 2072.

Thanksgiving Tribute from me to You

Off the FieldGreg Higgins

Thank You On this Thanksgiving Day, I would like to take a second and do something that I haven't really done yet and that's reflect on the past year. I started this website back in January because parents and students asked me to keep up the North Lamar coverage. I had no idea what was going to happen and I had no idea how successful it would be.

When I started the site, I knew there would be a core group of people that would follow along and read the articles. I had no idea how much it would grow in the first few months. I started the site right before district basketball started. I did my best to update games, write articles and change the site as needed.

It wasn't until softball, though, that I really saw the increase in traffic. I watched the site grow and the Facebook page Likes grow as well. People started interacting with me more and more at the games and through mediums like Facebook and Twitter. The site started growing and then we hit the Summer months. Not much happens during the summer months so the traffic stopped.

During the summer months, I decided to work on the site some more and try to get a few sponsors to help pay for some of the expenses. It was no time, though, before I was preparing for football season. During the season, I tried some new things with the site and failed on some other ventures. I'm learning, though, that's ok. I want this to be something I really enjoy doing and if something fails I can't beat myself up over it. Rather I learn from it and move on.

So, here we are: almost a year into the new site and I couldn't be happier with the progress. I try to be the biggest fan at North Lamar that I can. I love the kids and I want every one of them to succeed. The parents have been great as well. So, I write all of this to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart. To the athletes, to the coaches, to the parents, teachers and especially the sponsors. Without you, I wouldn't be doing what I love. I have to give a big thanks, though, to my dad, Bill Higgins, and to Adam Routon. They both have helped me with pictues for the site and Adam has done all my soccer coverage.

So, enjoy the turkey and everything else that goes along with it. Enjoy the football games (and even the hockey game for those of you so inclined). Just know that I am extremely thankful for each and everyone of you. Happy Thanksgiving.

Mary Poppins Flies into North Lamar with a Bang

Off the FieldGreg Higgins

Mary Poppins

I'll never forget the first time I watched the movie Mary Poppins. I was captivated by Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. The way they danced across the stage was something I'll never forget. Couple that with songs like Step in Time, Jolly Holiday and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and you have a movie that has stood the test of time.
So imagine my surprise when I heard earlier this year that the North Lamar High School Theatre was going to be putting this production on this fall. Obviously I was a little worried about how they would be able to pull off some of the effects from the movie. Those thoughts were quickly put to rest, though.

Jane and Michael Banks

Directors Cody Head and Laura Hutchings did an amazing job captivating the story of Mary Poppins and bringing it to the North Lamar stage. The production has only been available a short time and North Lamar is one of the first High Schools in the country to get the rights to this Broadway production.
The musical is set in London in the early 1900's. It's a beautiful story about the transformation of a family as they realize what is really important in life. This production did an amazing job capturing the time period with costumes and set design. Something else they did was bring to life the production with a colorful array of costumes. From red dresses to orange suits, the cast of characters shined on the stage.
The scenes themselves ranged from inside Mr. and Mrs. Banks home to the rooftops. They also threw in a park, a street corner, a bank and inside a kitchen. Not only did they have elaborate scenes, they also had amazing effects. Imagine this: Mary Poppins (played by Brittany Birch) pulling a coat rack out of a normal size hand bag. Or perhaps a messed up kitchen magically fixing and straightening itself up. All of this happened right before the audiences eyes. Perhaps the most impressive effect, though, was when characters would fly on and off the stage. Thanks to a company out of Las Vegas, Mary Poppins flew on and off just like in the movie. Bert (played by Nic Corpus) used the contraption during his Step in Time dance routine that made him look like he was running upside down.

Bert

Any type of musical usually requires a huge cast to pull it off and this production was no different. It took over 60 people to put this production together. Everyone watching the show can see the people on the stage, but props (pun intended) should be given to the people behind the scenes. The lighting, scene change and wardrobe personnel all deserve a huge round of applause.
Now to the cast. This cast was perfectly pieced together. Nic was the perfect Bert. He had the accent and maneurisms down as well as the dancing. Mr. and Mrs. Banks were played by Adrian Hobbs and Kallyn Burchinal respectively. The two children, Jane and Michael, were played by Ella Ryan Harper and Cable Pickering. The ensemble/dancers/chorus were spot on with all they had to do. From top to bottom, the cast was great and you could tell they enjoyed being on the stage.

Mr. and Mrs. Banks

The packed house loved the performance as well. Ovations were given after every song and even in the middle of several of them. It's hard to believe the production is already over. My only regret is that I didn't see it Thursday so I could write this and convince more people to see it. For those of us who did see it, though, we can relish the words of Jane and Michael Banks: "We won't forget you, Mary Poppins. We won't forget."

Cast

(All pictures used with permission from Tony Corso)

Banks Get Involved in Crosstown Showdown Food Drive

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
With cans in hand at the Kiwanis lunch meeting from left are Paris ISD superintendent Paul Jones, PHS Key Club officers Anna Grace Thrasher and Sloan Clay, Kiwanis Club president Don Dickerson, NLHS Key Club officers Michaela Smith and Katie Kilcrease, and North Lamar ISD superintendent John McCullough. The Crosstown Showdown food drive between Paris and North Lamar is all about helping the community

With cans in hand at the Kiwanis lunch meeting from left are Paris ISD superintendent Paul Jones, PHS Key Club officers Anna Grace Thrasher and Sloan Clay, Kiwanis Club president Don Dickerson, NLHS Key Club officers Michaela Smith and Katie Kilcrease, and North Lamar ISD superintendent John McCullough. The Crosstown Showdown food drive between Paris and North Lamar is all about helping the community

Public Information Officers, Carla Coleman of NLISD (left), and Jeanne Kraft of PISD (right), tape on posters to collection boxes for Bill Coleman of Liberty National Bank.

Public Information Officers, Carla Coleman of NLISD (left), and Jeanne Kraft of PISD (right), tape on posters to collection boxes for Bill Coleman of Liberty National Bank.

Over the years the Crosstown Showdown football game has spurred some fun rivalry between the North Lamar Panthers and the Paris Wildcats.  There have been a prank or two between students or student groups, spirited chants across the volleyball courts by fans, and bonfires designed to prime the players and fans for the big Friday night game.  And it doesn’t stop there because the Paris community generally falls into one category or the other supporting one team or the other.

This year the districts’ superintendents, John McCullough of North Lamar ISD and Paul Jones of Paris ISD, designed a Crosstown Showdown challenge that would bring a healthy rivalry between districts yet be for the good of the community.  A ‘Can the Wildcats’-‘Can the Panthers’ Food Drive was set into play with proceeds going to the Kiwanis Club of Paris to help meet the needs of Paris and Lamar County families at Christmas.  

Guaranty Bank & Trust joins as a collection site for the Paris- North Lamar Crosstown Showdown Food Drive.  From left are Jeanne Kraft of PISD, Guaranty representatives Jerimy Bell, Kenny Dority, and Tina Skidmore, and Carla Coleman of NLISD.

Guaranty Bank & Trust joins as a collection site for the Paris- North Lamar Crosstown Showdown Food Drive.  From left are Jeanne Kraft of PISD, Guaranty representatives Jerimy Bell, Kenny Dority, and Tina Skidmore, and Carla Coleman of NLISD.

Since beginning the challenge, local businesses, Liberty National Bank and Guaranty Bank & Trust, have joined the challenge by placing collection boxes for Paris ISD and North Lamar ISD at their various locations for customers and community members.  Campuses at each district have drop off boxes for students or others who wish to contribute. 

The contest between the two school districts ends Friday, November 6 at the Crosstown Showdown in Wildcat Stadium.  The winner will be announced at halftime and the victor will receive a special trophy and prize compliments of Lamar Electric and the Kiwanis Club Community Services Committee.

Van Relief Efforts

Off the FieldGreg Higgins
Connor McCrorey

Connor McCrorey

As the North Lamar Panthers move on to the Area Round of the playoffs, baseball might be the furthest thing from the mind of their opponent. Late Sunday night, a tornado ripped through the city of Van. With the tornado, came a lot of destruction as well.

As of Monday morning, there are at least 10 people unaccounted for in the city and at least 26 people were injured by the storm. According to people in Van, two school campuses were effected and the administration building was destroyed. This along with many houses and businesses.

North Lamar coaches and parents are asking for your help in the relief efforts for the community of Van.

Rickey Richardson (owner Of Champion Motors) is going to deliver donations to Van this week. Anything you can donate will be appreciated.

They are looking for blankets, non-perishable snacks, bottled water, tooth paste, tooth brushes, etc. Also money donations are accepted and will be given to the Red Cross in Van to help with relief efforts. Last night, reports were that 50 people had to sleep in a Red Cross shelter. 

Donations can be dropped off at:

Champion Motors

1950 N. Main St