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Mary Walter

Mary Walter

DR. MILLICENT BRAXTON – Improving children’s lives one day at a time

Administrators and teachers have the ability to be some of the most influential people in not only our lives, but our children’s lives. We entrust our ‘babies’ to them for more waking hours than we sometimes have with them on a daily basis. They, like children, come in all shapes and sizes, all demeanors, strong areas and weak areas, but for those who work with children with special needs, they have a halo above their heads.  Jackson County is so richly blessed to have one awesome educator/administrator who gives ‘Hope’ where there was none previously - Dr. Millicent Braxton, principal at Hope School in Marianna is the light of many children’s eyes every day.

Braxton is a graduate of Chipola College, Troy State University with a BS degree in Psychology and Human Services, an MS degree from Troy University in Counseling and Psychology, and Eds from the University of West Florida in Educational Leadership.  She obtained her EdD from the University of West Florida with a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Diversity.

If you look at Dr. Braxton’s page from Hope School, she says, “I worked as a mental health counselor prior to working at Hope School. I began teaching at Hope in 2003. I taught a Primary class for nine and a half years and then became the TSA at Hope in January 2013. I was trained by former principal, Mrs. Macaluso, for three years in administration. I love the students at Hope and will strive to continue our tradition of success here at Hope School.”

She has done nothing short of that, providing the students who attend there with a nurturing and learning environment conducive to their special needs.  She has developed a staff that is above the bar in caring for their students.  She makes no bones about how special Hope School is and that although most schools operate on a regular clock for time, Hope School has its own time. Recently, they held yet another celebration of a great accomplishment by their students. Their two basketball teams, cheerleaders, coaches, and staff were recognized for another pair of State Championships. In addressing the crowd, Braxton said, “Some might say we are running a little late, but we operate on Hope School time here.”  Her devotion to her students goes far above what could possibly be expected of a day-to-day administrator. When her basketball teams were so closing to bringing home state championships, she added a little motivation to the pot. Braxton let the teams know when they both won state, she would do a cartwheel and as the medals were waiting to be handed out, Braxton was on the hardwood, living up to her offer of a cartwheel.  This action delighted the players and cheerleaders.

Don Holland has worked at Hope School for 13 years and has the utmost respect for Braxton as an administrator, “She is amazing and Hope School is blessed to have her as a principal.  She always comes to work smiling and with a positive attitude and always puts the kids first.  The kids recognize her as a positive person and their eyes and hearts light up when she enters their room or the cafeteria. “

As a teacher under Braxton’s administration, Tanya Wiggins has the highest praise for her, “She is wonderful. The kids and staff love her.  She is so caring and the kids recognized that immediately. They love it when they see her because she always has a big smile and a ‘Hello, how are you today, Sydney?’ for them.  She knows every child by name and they know it.”

Brandi Harris has a child who attends Hope School, “Dr. Braxton is very supportive as far as academics and she’s very involved with the programs at the school. The kids love her.  Every time I’ve been there for any reason, she always stops and hugs and calls every child by name when she passes them.”  

The programs at Hope School are evidence of the level of skill and education that is provided under her leadership.  Braxton has returned cheerleaders to the court to support their six-time state champions basketball team.  Students arrive eager to be on campus and leave with a smile offering proof in the pudding that they have had a great day!  

Lou Ethel Payne Hannah

Lou Ethel Payne Hannah, 65, was called from her earthly home to eternal rest on Saturday, February 10, 2018 in Tallahassee, Florida.  Funeral service was Saturday, February 18, 2018 at 11:00 a.m. at Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in the Hardaway Community of Quincy, Florida, with burial at White Cemetery in Dell, Georgia. She was born November 22, 1953 to the proud parents of the late Johnny Lee and Loury Payne in the Hardaway Community of Quincy, Florida.  She attended the public schools of Gadsden County. Ethel She will be missed by many.  She leaves to cherish her memory, loving devoted children: one daughter, Regina Kelly (Alvin) of Midway, Florida; two sons, Don Hannah Jr. (Farrah) and Marcus Antonio Hannah (Angela) both of Havana, Florida; two sisters: Rosa Mae Zanders (Larry) of Quincy, Florida and Carolyn Payne of Tampa, Florida; five brothers: Bernard Payne of Gretna, Florida, James Payne (Beverly) and Horace Payne, Sr., both of Tallahassee, Florida, Sandy Lee Payne (Shirley) of Havana, Florida and Kenneth Payne of North Carolina; sixteen grandchildren, three great grandchildren, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and sorrowing friends.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Johnny Lee and Lou Payne, one sister, Tethola Walker Borders, and three brothers, Louis Davis, Eugene Payne and David Payne. Crawford & Moultry Funeral Home of Chattahoochee, Florida are in charge of arrangements.

Diana Hughes Calloway – calming the worst of fears

You can ask just about anyone what they dread the most and 90% of the time, you will hear ‘Going to the dentist’.  Makes you wonder how dentists make a living, and dental hygienist like Diana Hughes Calloway may be the key to that. 

This past week, the TIMES office received a call from a patient of Dr. Jeremy Lewis, a local dentist in Marianna. Ken Godfrey was about as excited as a three-year old on Christmas morning. He preceded his visit to the dentist with his fear of dentist, dental hygienists, and even dental offices. Godfrey said, “I’ve always had a fear of dentists, I don’t even like going when it’s just for a cleaning, I fear those too. I get shaky just walking in the office.”  Godfrey went on to say that he manned up and made the trip to Dr. Lewis’ office that day and waited nervously for the hygienist to come in. When she came in, they exchanged small talk and he realized that she was a friend of his now married daughter.  Godfrey said, “Man, I could go back tomorrow after she finished with me today. I never had an experience like this at the dentist. I wasn’t scared, shaking or anything – it was great. I can’t tell you how great it was.”

It’s no wonder the experience was a good one with Diana Calloway – her grandfather is Dr. Harold Gregg, retired dentist. Many Jackson Countians knew him well as their dentist and Diana followed in his footsteps in that line of work. Diana Calloway is quick to give her granddaddy credit for where she is today, “My granddaddy was most definitely the reason I chose a career in the dental field. I worked summers in his office from the time I was in middle school all the way through hygiene school.  Of course, he wanted me to go on and go to dental school and take over his practice but as a 19-year old, eight more years of school didn’t sound like something I wanted to do.” Calloway quickly adds hindsight is 20/20, “Looking back now, I wish I would have gone.”  

Diana has been very successful in the dental field, as is noted above by one of her patients but she has also been very successful as a parent.  She is the mother of four children, Gavin Calloway, age 17, Sara Ann Calloway age 12, Caden Calloway, age 11, and Abby Calloway age nine.  All are in school in Marianna and are excellent students.

Diana is the daughter of Dell and Karen Hughes and as noted earlier, the granddaughter of Dr. Harold Gregg and the late Barbara Gregg, and the late Odell and Sara Hughes. 

Jerhron Clemons retires from Marianna Recreation

  • Published in Sports

For those who have lived in Jackson County in the last four decades, played watched, or coached any sport at Optimist Park or through the Marianna Recreation Department, you know Jerhron Clemons.  His presence is almost iconic, it’s as if those the fields and courts couldn’t have players on them if Clemons wasn’t present. For 32 years, Clemons has been a fixture at any Marianna Recreation event.  He can be seen on the field umpiring, refereeing, working the fields between games, just about anything one can imagine.  

Jerhron has performed his last official duty for the Marianna Recreation Department.  Rest assured, you will still see him present but in an unofficial capacity.  All who know Jerhron, know that he can’t give up cold turkey what he has eaten, lived, and breathed for the past four decades.  

For those who coached, umpired, or just interacted with Clemons, one thing is a constant, Jerhron was fair to everyone and what he said he would do, he did.  He was the voice of reason on the field when coaches would argue, lose their temper, and just generally get out of control.  Jerhron was there to bring peace to the situation, no matter how heated.

City Manager Jim Dean said of Clemons, “Jerhron has been long term reliable and dependable member of the City of Marianna Team, he will be missed.”

Clay Wells has worked with Clemons since he came on board as the Recreation Director said, “Jerhron is one of the toughest, dedicated individuals I have ever worked with.  He truly enjoyed coming to work every day.  Jerhron would do anything asked of him at the MERE or with anything that was involved with our job.  I am really thankful that I had a chance to work with him since arriving in Marianna in 2006.  We have lost a very valuable part of our TEAM at the recreation department.  It will be hard to replace an employee who has been so dedicated for 32 years.”

This writer has had the opportunity to watch Jerhron work in every facet of his job at Optimist Park.  I can say that all of the above truly define the man he is.  It will be hard to imagine walking on the grounds at Optimist Park and Jerhron not there in his official capacity but I have no doubt, he will not be able to stay away, it’s in his blood.  And Jerhron, don’t ever lose sight of the back of the bat!  

Happy Retirement Jerhron from the publisher and staff of the Jackson County Times! 

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