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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. 

Sydnee Goodson –Excelling on the court, diamond and in the classroom

  • Published in Sports

Sydnee Goodson is a junior at Marianna High School. She has been on a diamond since she was five years old and can’t imagine not being there.  At five and six she played tee ball, changing to coach pitch baseball when she was seven.  At age eight, she transitioned to softball and fell in love with the sport.  Nine years later, the love is still there.  Since that time, she has added volleyball and once again, she found a new love.  With all that being said, Sydnee never lost sight of the big picture.  Academics have always come first.

Sydnee maintains a 3.96 GPA (grade point average), while playing two sports for five years.  She is an active member in the Beta Club, National Honor Society, and Juniorettes.  She is dual enrolled at Chipola College, adding six college hours to her resume on top of her already full schedule.  

Her accolades on the volleyball court, she excelled three years at Marianna Middle School.  Her seventh and eighth grade years, she was awarded the Best Server Award.  Her eighth grade year she was also awarded MVP.  

The awards did not stop on the court but moved to the diamond where she was named Defensive Player of the Year for seventh and eighth grade, as well as MVP and Captain award in eighth grade.  

Moving to the high school had no adjustments for Sydnee.  She was an integral part of both the junior varsity and varsity softball team and the varsity volleyball team.  She was name MVP of the MHS junior varsity softball team her freshman year.  

Looking back on her years of playing and her most memorable game, Sydnee says, “The game against Chipley when I hit a walk off double for us to win the game, it was great.”  

Sydnee wasted no time in saying her favorite subject was math and her favorite math teachers, “Mr. Goodwin (Jamie) and Mr. Tocci (Bennett), I couldn’t pick just one.  I had Mr. Goodwin in fifth grade and them Mr. Tocci in sixth and seventh.”

Sydnee knows readily she is blessed to be where she is in life, “I have to thank God and my parents.  They have always been there for me.”

Accolades from teachers are nonstop.  Tocci says of her, “Sydnee was an awesome student, very bright, and extremely well mannered.  I could teach till I was 100 if all my students were half the person she is.  My pleasure to have had her in the classroom for two years.”

Coach Scott Wiggins at Marianna High School says, “Sydnee is a great young lady on and off the field, always gives her best!  It is a pleasure to be her coach.”  

Danielle Baggett coached Sydnee for two years at Marianna High School, “I have coached her two years now and have been amazed at the outstanding job her parents have done with her. She works hard on and off the court. Sydnee has a wonderful heart, great morals, and is such a positive presence. She always gives 110% and genuinely cares whether it’s about school, family, friends, or athletics. She has helped me to continuously step my own game up to become a better coach for her. Sydnee just has that effect on people and doesn’t even realize it.”

Jamie Goodwin taught her math in fifth grade, “The great thing about Sydnee is that you are always going to get her best.  She doesn’t know anything else.  She’s very driven in everything she does, whether it’s sports or school.  It’s easy to teach a kid like Sydnee.  Teaching kids like her make teaching fun.”

Congratulations to Sydnee Goodson on her accomplishments in her short life time. The Jackson County Times will be watching for big things to come.

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