Students at Tommie Spear Middle School in Sallisaw held their last Ready to Roll assembly Friday at the old school, before moving into the new middle school March 23 after spring break. At the assembly, students honored the late educator Tommie Spear, for whom the old middle school is named, and former middle school administrators including Stanley Collins, Gilbert Asbill, Dwight Phillips, Bill Weedon, and Harold Tomlin.
Members of the student council led the program, with the help of Principal Greg Cast and Assistant Principal Tracy Baker. They reviewed the history of teacher Tommie Spear, who was born Jan. 25, 1898, in Hanson, and received her teaching certificate and degrees from Northeastern State University in Tahlequah and the University of Oklahoma at Norman. Mrs. Spear, beginning at age 18, taught for 46 years, was the girls basketball coach at Sallisaw High School, taught the first foreign-language class-Spanish-in 1929, oversaw the school's first yearbook in 1942, taught the state's first black studies class in 1953, and was named the state's Teacher of the Year in 1958, and the Retired Teacher of the Year in 1963. One of her prized possessions was her letter of congratulations from President John F. Kennedy. Jan. 25, 1981, was proclaimed Tommie Spear Day in Sallisaw, and Mrs. Spear was the first person inducted into the Sallisaw Schools Hall of Fame in 1985. She died on March 24, 1994. Her portrait, which hung in the old school, was presented at the assembly to her great-nephew, Earl Strebeck (above), a retired teacher who taught in Missouri for 30 years.
The student council members also reviewed February's news, which included reporting on the success of the academic team, and music, band, sports and wrestling competitions. The assembly concluded with live music and a slide show.
Sally Maxwell, Senior News Director
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