Marshall Lions Club

Marshall Lions Chris Horsley, left, and Patrick Owens, right, welcomed guest speaker Brad Burris, president of the Marshall ISD school board, to its recent meeting.

Special to the News Messenger

The Marshall Lions Club met Tuesday, July 9, at the Panola-Harrison meeting room, 410 E. Houston. A lunch of beef and chicken enchiladas was served by Jose Tequila Catering.

1st Vice-President Robert Wood called the meeting to order and welcomed Lions with a reminder to turn off or silence cellphones. Lion Robert asked Lion P.A. Almquist to open the meeting with prayer, followed the Pledges of Allegiance to the US and Texas flags led by Lion Tim Young. “Auld Lang Syne” and “America” were sung with gusto, led by song leader Lion Alan Grantham, accompanied on the piano is Lion Arnola Zabokrtsky.

Lion Tamer Patrick Owens welcomed Lions to the meeting and asked if everyone was enjoying the hot weather. He reported that there were no guests this week and that there were 19 in the Den. In a bit of trivia, he said he was watching “To Tell the Truth” on TV and learned about extreme embalming. He also read the Thought for the Day – “The way I look at it, every day that I’m moving forward is a day I’m not moving backward!”

Tail Twister Chris Horsley levied a fine on 1st VP Robert Wood for his phone ringing during last week’s meeting. Lion Wood argued that it was a robo call but that did no good with the Tail Twister! Lion Chris was very excited about the MLB All-Star Game being televised. He exclaimed that Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander was a starting pitcher.

Lion Chris reported that there were several birthdays and anniversaries this week — Lion Fuzzy Harmon’s wife, Sherry, and Jerry Van Norden, spouse of Lion President Jimmie Van Norden, had birthdays. Lion Alan and Natalie Grantham and Lion Jesse and wife, Ann, celebrated wedding anniversaries. Lion Liz Whipkey celebrated two years in the Marshall Lions Club. Lion Chris appointed Lion Dudley Swofford to lead the club in singing our “Happy Song” to them.

Lions, be reminded that the 9/11 Heroes Run will held Saturday, Sept. 7, at Telegraph Park. This run is to benefit the Travis Manion Foundation. Anyone who wants to participate in the 5K run/walk/ruck and 1 mile fun run can register at 911heroesrun.org. Lion Travis Keeney is a local sponsor and organizer.

VP Robert Wood said we need to keep membership in the forefront — people won’t come if they are not asked.

VP Wood called Lion Chris Horsley to the podium to introduce the speaker, Brad Burris, new chairman of the Marshall Independent School District board. He has served for about 10 years, and was chosen upon retirement of Helen Warwick as chairman. He said it’s a challenge, but he has a good board to serve with. Burris is a local realtor, with an office on Travis Street.

Burris said one new innovation in the high school is the sponsorship of Under Armour Sports Company BSN Sports. They have signage about the campus and in return, all the sports uniforms are by Under Armour. He said he thought it would work to the advantage of MISD.

BSN Sports is also providing an official online “Maverick Sideline Store” which will include official athletic apparel for purchase by fans. There will be men’s and women’s and kid’s apparel, t-shirts, hoodies, shoes and accessories — all with the official seal of MISD and Under Armour. As terms of the agreement, BSN will give a percentage of all sales from the online store back to MISD.

Burris also talked about the bond issue of several years ago; having built three new schools, there was enough left over to do renovations to the high school bathrooms and air conditioning. He explained that they now have a maintenance fund to take care of breakdowns and repairs without having to go to a bond sale.

Burris explained the demographics of the school system, saying that there was 35.5% Hispanic, 23.5% White and 37.2% African-American, with less than 3% making up the rest. He also disclosed that 68.2% of MISD was economically disadvantaged, with 61.3% classified as “at-risk.”

As for the teachers, he gave a quick list of years of experience: 5.80% are beginners; 40.30% have 1-5 years of experience; 15.10% have 6-10 years; 10.80% have 11-20 years; and 18% have over 20 years.

He cited Mrs. Rosborough, who has taught for 55 years, and revealed that there is a low turnover rate in Marshall. Burris also revealed that the board has unfrozen salaries for teachers; the salaries had been frozen for the past 4-5 years.

The board had voted to give raises before the State Legislature approved a statewide increase for teachers. Burris praised the current superintendent, Dr. Jerry Gibson, for his foresight and enthusiasm for MISD.

In a separate handout, Burris listed ways Lions (and others) can help MISD — reading tutors at Price T. Young; Read to Ride reading incentive program; math tutors for MJH, trained by Faye Whitlow; college and career fairs; Junior Achievement for 2nd-grade; adopt a classroom/grade and/or teacher; join/participate in Marshall Education Foundation; Join PTA at any campus; collect box tops and send to any elementary campus; attend events and performances; participate in the Pack the Bus initiative.

The last topic Burris told about was the grant that MISD received that allows every kid in the Marshall ISD to eat free meals, regardless of income. He was very proud of this because he said that there are children in Marshall who are hungry and have no food at home. He explained that some of the kids, as they get older, refuse the meals because they are embarrassed to be on the program. He said that with the grant, everyone is equal and this should be an improvement.

1st VP Wood thanked Burris for his interesting and informative program and presented him with a Lions writing pen. Lion Robert called on Lion Travis Keeney to close with prayer and adjourned the meeting.