Small Garvin County School Prepared for Tough Times
By Gan Matthews, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Several education leaders and school districts around the state fear school closures or consolidations may be in the future if state budget woes continue, but a small school in Garvin County has no plans to do either.
Long ago a Caddo princess sold her white beads in Garvin County. The town became known as Whitebead and a school was later built there.
Today more than 400 children, grades K through 8th, attend Whitebead, just like their elders before them.
"Well, I went to school here when I was a little girl and up to the fourth, fifth grade. I think it's very important that the students have this school," said Lottie Wood, a former student.
Whitebead Superintendent Mary Smith said the school has been preparing for hard times.
"We have absorbed as many jobs as we could over the last couple of years through attrition. As teachers left or aides left, we didn't hire any new people," Smith said.
In the classroom, teachers like Belinda Hunt are conserving on paper and other supplies. They're also getting support from parents.
"If I need supplies I can ask them, and they're very, very good to supply those for us," Hunt said.
Friday afternoon, parents held a Halloween party for the whole school and provided food, fun, and games. No one wants to think about Whitebead ever closing.
"I think it would be a real big blow for the students and for the faculty. I think it needs to be in. It's important for the kids," Wood said.
A church, a cemetery, and the school are all that's left of the town of Whitebead. The church and cemetery are pretty much permanent fixtures, and residents insist the school will be too.
Whitebead School is a nationally recognized Blue Ribbon School. Only two K through 8 schools in the country have received that award, and Whitebead is the only one in Oklahoma.