Busy week honoring our students

Published 3:29pm Saturday, May 18, 2013

By Larry Stover

Pastor of Praise Park Ministries Church of the Nazarene

The media has been covering several stories about students in Dallas County that are making bad choices. I’ve spent the past ten days with area children and youth that are making great choices.

We concluded the Valley Grande t-ball and coach pitch leagues season the other day. Several hundred parents and athletes joined together at Praise Park Church of the Nazarene to celebrate the end of their season. The 69 athletes received trophies and enjoyed hot dogs, snow cones, and soft drinks. The kids were excited.

Their family members and friends were enjoying the festivities. Most of all, I got to listen to those in attendance thank the City of Valley Grande for having a vision for the children and youth of our community that included a sports complex.

This past Tuesday, Praise Park Nazarene joined with Westwood Baptist to host the Martin Middle School Spring Athletic Banquet at Westwood. It was a great evening with food catered by Noodie’s BBQ and Praise Park Nazarene’s “World Famous Desserts.” It was a wonderful evening of recognition for a job well done by the students.

As I listened to the coaches, they continually made reference to their athletes abilities on and off the field. It was more than just performing at a sport; it was about academics, and students with character and moral integrity. These athletes are learning about self-disciplines that will mold and shape their futures.

On Wednesday morning, I was asked to be an “Oratorical Judge” for the Dallas County School system. I got to hear fourth graders from across the county share short stories. It was an awesome experience.

The awards ceremony was a highlight of my day. The cream of the crop among grade school children throughout Dallas County received recognition for a job well done. I’m not sure who was the most excited, the students, their parents and teachers, or the principals of the schools.

One of the highlights of our year at Praise Park is to host the end of season celebration for the Dallas County High School track team. That event was held this past Thursday at the church. I continue to be amazed at the progress of our DCHS track team.

Coach Robert Dolbare continues to move forward with a dynamic vision for the future. Our track team is still desperately in need of basic equipment, but that doesn’t seem to deter their determination at all. Once again a good number of our team distinguished themselves by going to the Alabama state competition.

As I listened to Dolbare, he reminded us of how athletics can change the life of an individual who is determined to excel at an athletic endeavor. In order to participate in track, athletes must do well with their academics as well as their behavior to be a part of track. I am anxious to see how well our track team does next year as they expand into cross county completion as well.

Some of our readers will not have read this column before Praise Park hosts the DCHS Baccalaureate service today at 3 p.m. It will be an exciting celebration giving praise to those students who stayed the course and finished high school. I applaud their determination to reach this milestone in life.

It has been a busy week. I’m thankful to be a part of a great church that is committed to the children and youth of Valley Grande. It’s what makes life “Simply Beautiful.”


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