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Wildcats Wired

Wildcats Wired

From Classroom to Crown: Meet Walnut Grove’s First Mr. and Ms. Wildcat

Excited%2C+Stockdale+%28left%29+and+Easley+%28right%29+are+cheered+on+at+the+forthcoming+pep+rally.+The+pep+rally+took+place+after+the+forthcoming+parade.+Our+next+pep+rally+is+blackout+themed+on+October+27th.
Claire Sample
Excited, Stockdale (left) and Easley (right) are cheered on at the forthcoming pep rally. The pep rally took place after the forthcoming parade. Our next pep rally is blackout themed on October 27th.

Neon lights flare at the forthcoming pep rally as Ms. Stockdale and Mr. Easley run into the arena. Smiles lighten their faces, crowns sparkle on their heads, and student cheers echo a thundering chorus. They are officially the first Ms. and Mr. Wildcat.

The forthcoming court consists of a lord and lady (freshman), a duke and duchess (sophomore), a prince and princess (junior), and the classic senior king and queen. This year, students could vote for teachers on the court as Mr. and Ms. Wildcat. Mr. Greg Easley and Ms. Caroline Stockdale had the majority and carried those titles for the first time at Walnut Grove.

 

Ms. Stockdale

“I value those relationships so much [with the students],” Stockdale said. “I feel like there’s such a need for good teachers to pour into these kids and build strong relationships to impact their lives truly. I just pray I can be that teacher for them.”

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Stockdale has taught for three years. She currently teaches Hope Squad and English classes at Walnut Grove High School. Since she was a kid, she’s known teaching was her passion.

“I was always a babysitter or a nanny,” Stockdale said. “I was involved in my high school ministry whenever I was in high school. I got to lead a couple of small groups of girls. I just love bonding with this age group.”

Stockdale’s mother was also a teacher. She instilled in her the desire to be herself and love her students. Seeing her mom’s teaching style made Ms. Stockdale desire that same impact.

“Sometimes, as teachers, you can get so bogged down in due dates, grading, or classroom management,” Stockdale said. “But if you build those strong relationships, everything else will come naturally. I think she taught me the importance of that.”`

Part of the impact Stockdale hopes to have is with the Hope Squad program. Hope Squad is a national organization that aims to educate students about mental health and suicide prevention. The Walnut Grove chapter of Hope Squad comprises students from varying grades and backgrounds. There is a class of elected students and a club open to all.

Ms. Stockdale tosses candy in the air at the forthcoming parade. Mr. Easley stands in the truck on the far left, smiling at the parade. The two are on the float with sophomore Duke and Duchess: Cade Carter and Camdyn Toth. (Claire Sample)

“Hope Squad was something I always loved and had my eye on. I feel like I’m living my dream job,” Stockdale said. “Suicide is never the answer. Their lives are worth living, and every one of these students is so unique and special. I hope I can show them that.”

To become Ms. Wildcat, Stockdale had to be elected by student vote. Principal Mr. Toth revealed she won over the announcements the week before the forthcoming dance.

“I was very honored, very surprised,” Stockdale said. “It’s something I never expected, but getting it feels rewarding because I pour so much into these students, and seeing that reciprocated is a really cool feeling.”

Stockdale sees her job as a blessing. She wants to continue with it for a long time. Her emphasis on building strong relationships with students is a core part of her teaching philosophy.

Stockdale said, “I’ll look around and see all these faces and amazing students I get to spend my time with, and those are the most rewarding moments.”

 

Mr. Easley

Easley is a world history teacher at Walnut Grove High School. He has taught for nearly 16 years since getting his degree in history at Texas A&M and West Texas A&M. From an early age, Easley had a passion for history.

“I feel like once I start teaching, something kicks in. Something about working with students and talking about history sort of gets me into a different gear,” Easley says, “I hope that I can help spark an interest in history for my students even if they’re not going to do it career-wise. Finding that interest and this idea that history is actually kind of cool that they might foster for the rest of their lives is important to me.”

Madeline Kane is a sophomore in Easley’s honors world history class. Like other students in the class, she finds his energy and teaching inspiring.

“He’s the best,” Kane said.“I have him first period, and his class wakes me up in the morning. It’s hard, but not too hard. Mr. Easley is my favorite teacher.”

While students today appreciate Easley’s class, he also had inspiring teachers when he was in school. He hopes to be “on their level” and has seen them as examples for his teaching.

“My sophomore history teacher’s name was Ms. Seaver. As someone who already loved history, she helped it come alive and grew my interest in it,” Easley said. “One great professor at [West] Texas A&M was named Dr. Brasington. If I could ever teach like Dr. Brasington, that would be my dream. He’s just an awesome guy.”

Easley is a father of two daughters. Parenthood has given him a different perspective on teaching.

Mr. Easley stands on a float at the forthcoming parade, smiling. He is on the float with his two daughters. The forthcoming parade is a tradition that took place this year before the forthcoming pep rally and football game. (Taylor Mersmann)

“I get to see the way my daughter’s brains work, and now see more of how my students think,” Easley said. “This is someone’s kid, and that’s their pride and joy. I have a real responsibility to give that kid a safe learning environment, a classroom they want to come in and have fun in, something that pushes them. They can feel like this is a teacher who cares about me because that’s what I want for my daughters.”

While half-listening to the announcements and talking to another faculty member, Easley was named Mr. Wildcat for the 2023 forthcoming court. He didn’t know this was a possibility and was very surprised.

“I was just really stunned by it,” Mr. Easley said. “That was cool that my students wanted to honor me with that. It’s really cool.”

Easley looks forward to becoming a better teacher each year. He’s thankful to the students who voted him for Mr. Wildcat.

“Thank you to all my students. They’re why I come here every day,” Easley said.“Y’all are what makes this job fun for me. I love and appreciate my students so much.”

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About the Contributors
Abbie Fleeman, Section Editor
Abbie Fleeman is a sophomore at Walnut Grove High School. This is her first year on the Wildcats Wired staff. Abbie plays for the tennis team. She loves listening and playing music, working out, and hanging out with her friends. Abbie is currently the section editor of Wildcats Wired, and a social media manager for Grove Media. She is excited for the opportunities the newspaper brings!
Claire Sample, Social Media Manager
Claire Sample is a senior at Walnut Grove High School and serves as the Social Media manager for Wildcats Wired. She's a dedicated photographer, journalist, and reader. Claire will most likely be attending the University of Oklahoma next year with a major in computer science.
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