|O.C. Taylor Elementary (Taylor Tiger in front)|
|The Morning Show team|
|With Nolan and Addion Gormley|
waiting to go on camera
|On camera with Nolan, Addison,|
Librarian Dawn Bonacci, and Berri Gormley
Within moments the library filled with fourth- and fifth-graders (as well as my three grandchildren). I presented this program in vaquero and cowboy attire, and Karon also dressed for the occasion, helping me with the cowgirl clothing demonstration. I use branding irons, spurs, and other props to describe the colorful elements which made Texas cowboys the world’s Number One Folk Hero. The program is designed for 30 minutes, but Principal Kinney requested an additional Q and A session. The questions came rapid-fire, well-informed questions about the Alamo and Native Americans and other Texas subjects, as well as about cowboys and great ranches and cattle drives. The social studies teachers must have been proud of their students, who repeatedly demonstrated sound instruction.
By mid-day Karon and I were driving northeast for Van Alstyne, where we were scheduled to celebrate Christmas in the home of my youngest daughter, Causby O’Neal Henderson, her husband Dusty, and their daughters, Bailey and Kendall. Causby is a kindergarten teacher at Van Alstyne Elementary, where Kendall is a third-grader. Bailey is in the fifth grade at Van Alstyne Middle School, and her language arts teacher is Carnelita Littlejohn. A few weeks ago I received a phone call from Mrs. Littlejohn, who explained the current activities and goals of her language arts students, before inviting me to address the entire fifth grade about my experiences as an author. Of course, a number of my books and articles have been about aspects of Texas history and culture. I mentioned to Mrs. Littlejohn that during my first three years in education I taught eighth-grade language arts at Lampasas Junior High. From Lampasas I became the head football coach and principal at Anna High School – four miles south of Van Alstyne - and my teaching assignment was all four grades of high school English.
|With Principal David Kinney, Karon,|
and Librarian Bonacci
|Van Alstyne Middle School|
|With Carnelita Littlejohn and Librarian Pat Kuhns|
In a single day I provided programs to two large groups of students: one group from a growing suburban community, and another in a small town of 3,000. In both schools the students were bright, well-disciplined, enthusiastic, and had absorbed quality teaching. The students are a credit to their respective communities, and these students and schools offer strong hope for the future of America.
|With granddaughter Bailey Henderson|
|Holding the book I wrote on Van Alstyne|