By Dave Rogers

For The Record

Orangefield Independent School District announced a record-high enrollment, recognized high achieving students and named teachers of the year at Monday’s school board meeting.

Superintendent Stephen Patterson said the current count of 1,794 students was “an all-time high enrollment, to my knowledge.”

Later in the meeting, school board members authorized him to begin negotiations for a district-wide facility study. That’s the first step in a process to ensure the classroom space needed for a growing district.

Kindergarten teacher Ashleigh Helton was named teacher of the year at Orangefield Elementary; art teacher Robyn Lovett was named teach of the year at Orangefield Junior High; and technology teacher and UIL coordinator Misty Bellard was named teacher of the year at Orangefield High School.

The awards were voted on by fellow teachers.

Among the students recognized with a “Bravo Award” were Mack Patterson, the district’s first to win a Congressional appointment to a military academy (West Point); Kara Ficken, who won a Mirabeau Scholarship, an all-expenses-paid education at Lamar University; and Gus Longron, who raised the grand champion at the nation’s largest swine show and won a $10,000 scholarship for his effort.

Meara Patterson and Carlee Grimes were on the list; they finished first and second, respectively, among 70-something soloists at American Dance and Drill Competition in Houston. Peyton Wrinkle and Gracie Cross are among 18 finalists in a Laws of Life Essay contest that drew 4,000 entries. Madison Taylor finished ninth in the state in powerlifting.

Kenly McFarland was among 16 finalists from 2,000 entrants for the Laws of Life Art Contest. Brayden Berry, Ryan Posey, Whitley Hoyland and Sydney Catt won scholarships through the Stark Reading Contest. Hoyland, Catt and Brandon Scoggin won all-star recognition for one-act play, which was a first-year effort by OISD led by theatre arts teacher Angelique Catt.

Katey McCall, Alexis Sturrock, Alyssa Kelly, Katy Swiere were state debate qualifiers, coached by Bridget Trawhon.