THUMBS UP to all of the teachers at the Muskogee Early Childhood Center whose work earned them the title of National School of Character for the second time.

ECC was an honorary State School of Character in 2015 and became a State and National School of Character in 2016.

Muskogee’s ECC is one of two schools in the state of Oklahoma, joined by Pryor’s Jefferson Elementary School, to receive the National School of Character recognition this year. ECC remains the only early childhood program in Oklahoma to be a State and National School of Character.

Dr. Arthur Schwartz, president of, had high praise for the schools that were honored.

“The educators at these schools model and reinforce the core values of respect and dignity,” Schwartz said. “They are teaching their students to be honest and trustworthy, to contribute their time and talents to the common good, and when necessary, to show the courage to stand up for what is right.”

What a noble goal. The children at ECC are beginning their educations by learning what character is all about. It’s something they can take with them throughout life.

• • • 

THUMBS UP to The Salvation Army for all of the work they do for the community. This week is National Salvation Army Week.

The organization in Muskogee is led by Captains Charles and Teri Smith, who have done outstanding work. They will be moving next month to their next assignment in Jonesboro, Arkansas. 

The Smiths have worked hard while they have been in Muskogee. Since the Smiths came to Muskogee in 2018, they have helped Muskogee area residents pull through the devastating flood of May 2019, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic that began in Spring 2020. And that’s in addition to their daily duties.

They operate a food pantry, oversee the Family store and make sure they have volunteers to help out with projects like the Red Kettle Campaign, and the Angel Tree program.

We’ll really miss the Smiths. The community should be thankful for having such a great couple who have made themselves available to the community every day of the year. If you want to make them proud, be sure to continue donating and volunteering when the need arises.

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