, Muskogee, OK


May 6, 2010

MPS’ top students honored

Nicole Johnson’s mother wasn’t the only person impressed when the Whittier Elementary School fifth-grader received her honor award Thursday night.

Her teacher, Brooke Crow, was as well. Crow boasted “She’s brilliant. She’s very reserved, very refined, very intricate with details. She’s every teacher’s dream.”

Muskogee Public Schools honored 68 students when it held its annual Superintendent’s Academic Honors Banquet at the Muskogee Civic Center. The district honored the top students in each elementary school class fourth grade and older. Secondary-level students were honored for top scores over cumulative years.

The banquet also honored retiring teachers and administrators, Muskogee Education Foundation grant recipients and educators of the year from each school.

“Having and sharing knowledge is the basis of improving ourselves,” Muskogee High School senior Chelsey Puckett, a four-year honoree, told the students and their parents.

Muskogee School Superintendent Mike Garde encouraged the students to “make use of every moment and every opportunity, not just for yourself, but for your community.”

Harris-Jobe Elementary fifth-grader Ja’Rel Jones said he likes to study whenever he can.

And when he doesn’t take that opportunity?

“I think I might get a bad grade and I study harder,” he said.

“He likes to read a lot and study a lot,” said his father, Jeffrey Jones. “Sometimes watching TV gets in the way and we cut it off.”

Ja’Rel’s mother, Karen Jones, said she has been blessed with three good children.

“We try to give them a good foundation and try to give them high goals,” Jeffrey Jones said. “We let them go as far as they want to go. My wife is a college graduate and I have an advanced degree, so we believe education is more important than anything else.”

Debra Barger, principal of the 7th & 8th Grade Center, said all five honors recipients at that school are in honors classes.

“They are sharp kids all the way,” she said. “Education is important to them and important to their families. They just have that inner drive to succeed.”

Ronald and Tiffany Milligan said communication and discipline are keys to helping their son, Irving Elementary School fourth-grader Ronald Milligan, succeed.

“We’re strict and we do a lot of talking and communicating,” Tiffany Milligan said.

Nicole’s mother, Jean Johnson said her daughter “listens to her teachers.”

 “She takes it seriously,” she said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at 684-2928 or

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