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Shelia Mader

Shelia Mader

Sports Editor

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Marianna Bulldogs ready to get after it under the lights

  • Published in Sports

Coach John Donaldson has had his team conditioning, learning plays, and working throughout most of the summer, giving time off when needed to regroup and refresh.  Some decisions coaches have to make are more difficult than others.  Marianna lost some key players last year with Deontre Rhynes, Werlean Pollock, Jonathan Lombardo, and Cole Maddox all playing at the next level (Maddox signed as a wrestler but was a significant contributor to the football program), Ryley Lipford was lost to graduation and contributed heavily to the Bulldogs 2017-18 season, kicker Len Nobles and Marquis Kelly were contributors.

This year, Donaldson is loaded with talent, to the tune of four vying for quarterback.  Brady Donaldson, Ahmad Johnson, Tanner Spooner and Caleb Torbett have all shared time taking snaps the last few weeks. Donaldson says they all provide different looks for the offense and it’s a nice problem to have. 

The running back position will be strong with Jeremiah Castro, Jaden Smith, Damon Rolle, and Ben Herman, with all bringing experience to the field from last year. This year’s center is Anthony Sims who replaces three-year starter Jonathan Lombardo. Sims has made great strides in this position and is expected to shine when the lights come on every Friday night. The Bulldogs will have Ben Wiggins and Max Olds and a host of other wide receivers on the field.

Sean Yowell, Anthony Sims, Jacorian Jones, Jacquez Gainer and Dayvon Ferguson will all anchor down the offensive line. 

Defensively, Caleb Torbett, Ahmad Johnson and Emman Williams will be the anchors with Lamonte Baker and Jonah Mercer taking care of the tackle positions.

Donaldson is especially pleased with his new kicker, Victor Dubeaux. Dubeaux has been kicking it up on the soccer field and will tee it up on the football field and Donaldson says he has high hopes for this year’s kicking program.

4-Square honors Cason Hatcher’s love of the game

  • Published in Sports

For those who knew Cason Hatcher, you knew his love of games and none more so than the ever-popular 4-square game played at school across the country.  Cason was first in line to play 4-square daily during his free time in physical education at Riverside Elementary School during his three years there. He loved the game as much as he loved riding four-wheelers and jet-skis.  That was his indoor entertainment when the outside activities he loved so much were not an option.  

Students at Riverside this year will remember Cason in a special way thanks to the P.E. department, Linda Lee Harrell and Patti Johnson.  Students will have Cason’s memory with them for years to come with “In Memory of Cason Hatcher, Captain - #LLC12” stamped on a 4-square area.  For those who do not know, #LLC12 is Live Like Cason.

Cason’s parents, Wesley and Christie Hatcher were touched by the actions of those who taught Cason and Clark at Riverside for three years, “This is just humbling to see so much love for Cason. He would be so proud and especially since he loved this game like nobody else. We can’t express how truly thankful we are to Riverside, Mrs. Harrell and Mrs. Johnson.” 

Rhonda Suhr – saving lives through teaching

Spending seven to eight hours a day in a classroom is what most envision when they hear ‘teacher’.  That is not the case with one of the more noted ‘teachers’ for generations in Jackson County. Rhonda Suhr says she’s taught swimming lessons for so long, she is now teaching her student’s children of years past. Shortly she says, she may even encounter some of her former students’ grandchildren which makes her smile, “That says to me I must have done something right along the way. I honestly hate to say this but I can’t even come close to telling you how many kids I have taught to swim. I know it’s one of the most rewarding things ever, to know that something you teach someone could save their life or allow them to save someone else’s life. 

Suhr shared an experience with the TIMES, “I saw a boy recently, I believe the boy’s name was Keith. He saw me at The Oaks and came up to me to tell me thanks for saving his life when he was younger. He said he could not swim and I jumped in and saved him from drowning! The crazy thing is, you would think I would remember that and I don’t. The young man called me by name, ‘Rhonda,’ I said yes and he told me the story.”

Suhr talks about her training as a lifeguard, “I remember taking the lifeguard certification class, Bonnie Williams certified me back in the day. I had to jump in and get an active victim. That victim was a young freshman in college, he was tall and could have taken me under fast! He was so wide in the chest that my arm would not reach around his chest, so my hand stopped at his armpit. Bonnie told the young man to be active, that meant I was about to go under. Thinking quick and that’s what you have to do in those situations, I pinched him in his armpit. I asked him to please kick and the rest is history - I passed the class.”

Suhr says it’s not unusual for her to get 30-40 calls during the ‘season’ which usually starts in June and goes well through August.  

Rhonda said she worked at Blue Springs one summer and it was back in the day when you had to take a test to work there.  

“In years past, I taught Meghan and Owen Grimsley’s three children. They swim like fish now. I have had the pleasure of teaching Van and Susan Kunde’s four grandchildren. When I coached the Marianna swim team 16 years ago I was pregnant. I can remember teaching a parent how to do butterfly, I swam butterfly to the end alongside the parent. When we got to the end of the pool the parent was upset because he was out of breath and I was asking him did he have anymore questions about the stroke. He could not believe I was not out of breath being so pregnant. I must say God gives everyone a talent. With that being said, some can sing, some can remember names, I believe mine is to teach swimming. It is so rewarding to see a child do it for the first time, even more rewarding to see a parent’s face after the child has done it for the first time. I taught coach J (Jeff Johnson) and Nancy’s daughter back in the day. She was like four or five then.”

Rhonda could go on and on with stories, such as the one from her recent trip to Marianna to visit her brother’s restaurant, “A funny story was my last trip to Marianna I was at The Oaks you know my new hang out place when I come to Marianna, a table full JD, Brooke, Mr. Harold, Blake and Brady Donaldson, their friend James were there. I asked him what his last name was he told me Reiff. I then responded your mom is Beth your dad is Robert and he said yes, and asked how I knew that. I asked him if he knew how to swim and of course he said he did. He had no clue I was the one who taught him how to swim so many years ago. Mr. Harold was the one who told him she taught you how to swim.” 

Rhonda says her first job was teaching swimming at Blue Springs that in that very cold water. She and her twin brother Rodney would ride the bus from the old high school to Blue Springs. She says back then children would get on the bus and get free swimming lessons. They were 15 years old. In closing Rhonda said her daughter Laura-Ann reminded her just recently of something she always tells a parent when talking about the importance of swimming lessons, “If you are missing your child and you have a pool look there first. It only take a teaspoon for a child or adult to drown.”

Chipola earns gold award for a second consecutive year

The Chipola Arts Center sparkled in gold Monday as faculty, press, business leaders, and trustees gathered to hear the announcement that all the buzz was about.  For the second consecutive year, Chipola was the recipient of $704,000 worth of GOLD honors. Chipola, along with Santa Fe College, Seminole State College of Florida, South Florida College, and Valencia College were the five of 28 community colleges to receive this award. 

Chipola College President Dr. Sarah Clemmons was all smiles as she addressed the crowd, “Today is a wonderful celebration at Chipola College. This is the second consecutive year that we have won Gold from the Florida College System for student performance and we are just truly excited. Out of the great 28 colleges, only five got a Gold ranking and Chipola was one of them. Last year we were number one in the state and this year we’re number four. So, that is truly, truly something to celebrate.”

When asked about what winning Gold says about the students at Chipola College, Dr. Clemmons said, “It says that our students are competitive within the state and they’re competitive within the nation. It says that Chipola College has a great retention rate, our students choose to come here and we’re able to work with them, tutor them and mentor them. They’re able to graduate, they have a great career, they can go on and have a job and immediately begin to work and make a great wage, or they can transfer to a university if they so choose and continue to get a bachelor’s degree. So, it says Chipola College is doing a great job with our mission.”

Dr.  Clemmons also said, “Last year was a record performance year for our students. We had back-to-back national championships for baseball, and now back-to-back championships in the state for student academic performance. It’s truly been a phenomenal year for Chipola College and we are just celebrating today, not only our students but our faculty and staff. They have just done a phenomenal job with the resources that we have and we’re so proud that we’ve been able to serve our five-county district so well, so this is just a true celebration.”

Chipola will start the 2018-2019 school year on Monday August 20, and Dr. Clemmons says, “This week we are still advising and registering students. Classes will start on the 20th and we’re very excited to start a new year. We had our opening ceremony this morning down in the Prough Center for the Arts, so we saw a 30-minute video of winning moments at Chipola College from last year. It was just phenomenal to watch all of the different student groups and to think back over what a terrific year we had last year in athletics, in academics and in student organizations. We just have the winning spirit here at Chipola and we are just so proud.” 

Clemmons gave special credit to the ‘ACE’ Lab – the Academic Center for Excellence Lab that provides tutoring at no cost to students and the Dropout Detective program that began in the 2016-17 school year.  This program assists faculty and advisors in monitoring students’ performance and works to keep them on track if they encounter obstacles along the way.

Clemmons and her faculty also were presented a resolution of appreciation in for their accomplishment. 

Those present were provided lunch by Chipola College with beautifully decorated ‘GOLD’ tables and garnishes.

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