Letters from the court's teachers
When I heard the announcement for this year’s Homecoming Court, I couldn’t have been more excited. What an amazing group of young women our student body had chosen! Literally within five minutes, Mandi rounded the corner into my classroom. Her excitement was evident, and I was over the moon excited for her as well. Then she dropped the bomb on me… “Mama Pike (as she has called me for years), will you write my article?” I was totally blown away that she would ask me. I am truly honored!
Mandi Gresham! I always heard the name, because I taught her brother, Wes. But, I did not know who she was until I saw her run at a Middle School track meet several years ago. My first impression of Mandi was that she was a fast runner and a very cute girl. I had no idea of the type of person Mandi was on the inside. I soon would find out.
When Mandi was a sophomore, she joined my Physical Science class. She sat on the front row, was always on time and prepared, and was always willing to participate. She was every teacher’s dream. It did not take long for her energy to spread throughout my classroom and light up my day. It did not take long for her to start calling me “Mama Pike” and for me to truly feel like she was one of my own kids.
By the end of Mandi’s junior year, when I taught her Biology II, I felt like we had a life-long connection. I had seen her grow and mature into the beautiful young lady that she is today. I had seen her go through life’s ups and downs. I had seen her happy, sad, mad, and stressed, but through it all, she handled it with grace. She is a survivor!
Mandi, I love how you never follow the crowd, and you are not afraid to do your own thing. I love how you stand up for what you believe in. I pray that you have a wonderful senior year full of memories that will last a lifetime. I know that you will cherish each one of them. Congratulations of being selected as a member of this year’s Homecoming Court. You are very deserving of this honor, and I am so proud of you. Lastly, I want to thank you for allowing me be a part of your life and for being such an inspiration in mine. I love you so much, and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for your future!
Mrs. Kristi Pike
I was pleasantly surprised when Mary Julia asked me to write about her for the homecoming biography. I remember teaching Mary Julia my first year at Cedar Creek, she was in the first grade. Even then I could count on her, as I learned early on what a dependable person she was, always having a smile on her face and being very mannerly at such a young age, I congratulate her parents for that.
Well, that was12 years ago, and she still is as cheerful, dependable and mannerly a young lady as she was before. I've gotten to know her better for the last three years while teaching her Spanish. I am so proud of her for being the person she is and for being chosen to the homecoming court. Mary Julia, I'll remember your "little mishaps" while trying to practice Spanish, especially a particular one while on a field trip to El Jarrito. I believe you'll have a great and wonderful future ahead of you. Stay as you are. Te quiero mucho.
Mrs. Carmen Trevison
Back in 1971, when I was just beginning my career as a teacher at Cedar Creek, I met a Ruston businessman and Cedar Creek supporter named Johnny Maxwell. A few years later, I was teaching Johnny’s son, John, and his daughter, Jennifer. Now I find myself teaching Johnny’s granddaughter, Kathryn, and writing this article about her! All that to say this: Cedar Creek’s story is closely tied to the Maxwell family’s story. Kathryn Maxwell is Cedar Creek through and through – three generations of Cougar Pride! And I didn’t even mention her mom’s family - her two Russo aunts who are Cedar Creek graduates. Quite a Cedar Creek Cougar pedigree!
Now Kathryn has been chosen as Cedar Creek’s 2017 Homecoming Queen. How apt and fitting is that? We’ve already established the pedigree, so what else distinguishes Kathryn as a worthy recipient of the Queen’s Crown? For one, our school motto is Super Omnia, “best of all.” Cedar Creek is noted for the stringency of its curriculum. Kathryn’s GPA, taking Honors and AP classes, is a perfect 4.0000 – if you weight it, taking into account the difficulty level of the classes, the GPA become 4.2791. It doesn’t get much better than that! I taught Kathryn in Dual Enrollment U.S. History and she “aced” every test that I gave. The streak continues in Civics this year! Kathryn is the epitome of the Cedar Creek student. An added plus for Kathryn, from a teacher’s viewpoint, is the fact that she never ever whines and complains, she just does what is expected of her; then she quietly goes beyond what is expected and does more!
An essential trait of a Queen should be leadership, right? Kathryn is one of Cedar Creek’s premier student leaders! She is a four-year Varsity Cheerleader, serving her junior and senior years as Captain. She was chosen as an All-American Cheerleader her junior and senior years and was the recipient of the coveted “Pin-It Forward” leadership award at Cheer Camp her Junior year. Kathryn participates in virtually every club on the campus, including Key Club, French Club, Drama Club, Art Club, FBLA, and one that I sponsor, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. Last summer, Kathryn participated in the AHEC’s Competitive Summer Program, a three-week program of intensive study exploring various medical fields. She was chosen from a class of 20 as “Most Likely to Become A Physician!” So, be nice to Kathryn because she may be operating on you one day!
Of course, what sets a Queen apart is her demeanor and her love and concern for her subjects. I know Kathryn to be a loving and compassionate young lady, possessing a spirit of kindness with a heart for people. . Unfailingly polite and kind, she is sensitive to the needs of others. She is willing to go out of her way to help others when she perceives a need. Kathryn’s sensitivity, her cheerfulness, her wit and humor, and her easy-going demeanor have made her a most popular and respected student with her peers and with teachers alike. While easy-going, she exudes an air of calm dignity without appearing to be aloof - the essence of a true Queen!
Kathryn Maxwell, I love you and I congratulate you on being chosen as Cedar Creek’s 2017 Homecoming Queen.
I find it a privilege and a pleasure to have been asked to share my thoughts and impressions of Hallie Rambin. I have had the opportunity to coach her in softball over the last seven years, as well as teach her science in junior high school. I found her to be confident, intelligent, organized, athletic, goal-oriented, and determined to achieve. Hallie has given me so many lasting memories. I will share a few of them with you
In the classroom, Hallie is a perfect student! She is motivated to be successful, which is why she “hangs on to every word” and is always prepared. The hardest working students will ultimately be the most successful in life. Learning to work hard early on will pay off.
I first met Hallie at softball practice when she was in the sixth grade. We were working on outfield drills. I called her by the wrong name. I think I called her Hailey. She was quick to inform me that her name was Hallie. This “get it rightness” is one of her most valuable traits. Everything has to be correct, organized, and well-planned. She needs to know well in advance. This trait led me to teasingly call her a little old grandma. I am afraid this metaphor has stuck with her over the years.
One outfield drill that our softball team started doing a few years back involved catching fly balls being thrown into the air with the pitching machine. At first the outfielders dreaded seeing the pitching machine set up in the outfield when they walked down the hill to the softball field because they knew there was going to be a lot of running involved in practice. Hallie even nicknamed this unpopular pitching machine THE MONSTER. However, the players soon learned how much this activity really was very beneficial. They even looked forward to catching the softballs shot from the pitching machine. I will miss hearing Hallie eagerly asking, “Are we going to use THE MONSTER today?”
“So many accomplishments are abandoned at the cusp of greatness. Never give up and never give in. When you hit an obstacle, work harder. Giving up or procrastinating never breeds success.” I can just hear Hallie saying these words. Each day, she is relentless in whatever she pursues! For example, I remember a game in the Sulphur Tournament several years back when Hallie literally ran through the portable fence to catch a fly ball hit to her in left field. Even though the fence was meant for an obstacle, it could not hold her back from catching that fly ball that would have been a homerun.
To Hallie, there is truly no “I” in team. She is gladly willing to sacrifice and do whatever it takes for the team to succeed and reach their goals. She buys in to all the team bonding that we do in softball and has on many occasions thanked the coaches for all the activities and games we do to motivate our team be the best we can be. Hallie is one of the first players to encourage, cheer on, or pick up her teammates. Good teammates, like Hallie, are why Cedar Creek’s softball program is so successful.
A quote comes to mind when I think about Hallie graduating this school year –“In my heart is a memory, and there you’ll always be.” I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to share so much time around Hallie. I want to thank you, Hallie, for my awesome memories. I can say with all confidence that Hallie can, and will be, whatever she wants to be in our society, and it is my earnest feeling that our society will benefit from it all.
It seems as if only a few days have passed since I was walking hand-in-hand with Anna-Kate to her Pre-K class at Cedar Creek. Having this daily opportunity is just one of the many benefits of working at the same school where your children, niece, and nephew attend. And now that Anna-Kate is a senior, I have the honor of sharing with you just a small glimpse of her vibrant personality and outstanding character that I have been able to see from the vantage points of uncle, teacher, and basketball coach.
From the beginning, Anna-Kate has been a special blessing. As the only girl in our family, she captured our hearts immediately. We watched as she grew from a precious little girl wearing big hair bows and smocked dresses into a kind-hearted, courageous, determined, and devoted Christian young lady. We watched as she graciously accepted the Type 1 diabetes diagnosis she got as an 8-year-old child, and we watched as she used her faith and determination to sustain her as she learned to manage this disease. Through her diagnosis and daily challenges, Anna-Kate found a purpose. She turned her own experience into an opportunity for encouraging others who were also diagnosed with Type 1, and by age 11, became a national spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Safe at School Initiative. Her faith, courage, and tenacity serve her well as she refuses to be a victim of her disease, but rather an inspiration for others.
I watched as Anna-Kate transitioned from elementary school to middle school as a student in my American History class. I watched as she blossomed into a conscientious, independent student and developed study habits that have made her successful in the classroom.
When Anna-Kate laces up her basketball shoes, I can always rely on two things: she is going to give her best effort, and she is going to do whatever it takes to help her team be successful. From my observations, Anna-Kate genuinely loves, respects, supports, and encourages her teammates; as a result, she is the ideal teammate and a delight to coach.
Anna-Kate, it has been a pleasure to watch you from the front row! I am so thankful for the opportunity to teach and coach you, and the many memories we have made along the way. Congratulations on the honor of being selected for the homecoming court. I look forward to seeing what path God has planned for you in the future. And as always, I will be watching!
I love you,
Geno (Gene Vandenlangberg)
The first adjective that comes to mind when I think of Hope Wilhite is charismatic. To me, the meaning of this word describes Hope. The definition reads: exercising a compelling charm that inspires devotion in others; having a fascinatingly strong character; possessing a personal magic of leadership arousing special popular loyalty or enthusiasm for the public. There is just that “it” factor that Hope possesses that makes her such a loveable young lady and a friend to many. Is “it” created by her caring and concern for others, her quick smile, her loyalty to her friends and family? I am not sure that I can pinpoint the source of her charisma, but I do know that it is present in her soul. Hope, I love your honesty, your transparency, and your willingness to “tell it like it is.’
In spite of all of your worries and stress over Algebra and math in general, in spite of your insistence that you are not “good in math,” there have been days in class that were filled with smiles, good times, and the admission that you are teetering on the edge of getting the confidence that you need to move forward in this dreaded subject! For your senior year at Cedar Creek, we will certainly try to remember the good times and learn and grow from those that weren’t so much fun. I loved teaching you last year, and I know that this is going to be the best year ahead of us. I am proud and excited to have the opportunity to share all my mathematical knowledge with you and turn you into a “math prodigy” before you leave to go to college. Maybe in the future you will need to know some little part of that math to be able to achieve your next big goals, or maybe not! Whichever is the case, I am very proud of you and will look forward to checking on you in the future. I wish for you the best ever senior year with each "last" event being special in its own way. Congratulations on being selected to this year's homecoming court, you certainly are deserving of the honor in every way. I can’t wait to see how beautiful you will be on Homecoming Day 2017.
Love you Hope!
Kind. Caring. Loving. Generous. Natural. Sincere. Poised. A classy-Southern-gal. Elizabeth Wood.
Elizabeth walked into my piano studio at Cedar Creek School ten years ago. It has been a delight to watch her grow into the young lady she is today. I have been blessed to be a part of her growth and her musical endeavors. She has a love of music that expands into all genres, but she is happiest when making music with her family.
Elizabeth has performed with her dad and sister on stage at the Dixie Center in Ruston and at several family events. In the years I have known Elizabeth Wood, I have seen her blossom into a young woman of strong faith and character. I see her love for her little sister, Norah, as they walk up to school in the mornings. Myles and Elizabeth have made music videos together, sharing the same ear buds, and she actually posted these on her Facebook page (what sister does that with her younger brother?!). Elizabeth speaks so highly of her younger sister, Mary Page, and loves to sing with her. It is obvious they are close when you see them together. A high school senior who has this kind of love and patience for her younger siblings as Elizabeth does has a great, big, loving heart.
It has been a blessing to see this sweet family as they continue to be a part of our school and community. Elizabeth is best friends with her mom and still believes her dad is Prince Charming. I see Elizabeth as lovely on the inside as she is on the outside. She represents her family, her church, her school, and her city with highest level of integrity. It is an honor to be a part of this young lady’s school life. I will miss that sweet smile next year.