North Callaway High School Alumni Article

December 2016

As many of you know, this school year marks the 50th anniversary of North Callaway High School and a “Golden” year it has been so far!  As many alumni have come to visit, especially during Homecoming week, we learned that the school colors were chosen by the first basketball coach at NCHS, because he graduated from CMU, liked the colors, and realized those colors would be unique to the area.  Before taking the job as the first basketball coach at NCHS, his travels through the southwestern United States and Native American lore had made an impression on him.  Thus, the NCHS Thunderbird mascot was born.  The many alumni stories over the year have been interesting, to say the least.

For many months, “Thunderbird Proud” has been the NC catch-phrase, and it has become the mantra of who we are in the district.  Coach Emmons, long-time coach for the district, came up with the phrase.  When I asked him what Thunderbird Proud meant, he said, “It's an appreciation for all the great things that have been accomplished through the years, and things that are currently being done and will be done in the future.  It is an attitude of caring for the greater good at school, home, and community.  It is a belief that your school and community does what is right for everyone involved.  Knowing our school does that makes me proud.  Since it happens at North Callaway, that makes me Thunderbird Proud!

When trying to decide who to feature for the alumni article, it came to mind that this might be a “golden” opportunity to spotlight those alumni that graduated from NC and came home to be a T-Bird.  Of the approximately 180 employees in the district,  roughly 30 have returned and are now working for the district in some capacity.  I asked these folks a number of questions about their past and present and what it means to them to be Thunderbird Proud.  This is what some of them had to say:

Barbara Smith

Graduated:  1976

Position in the district:  Paraprofessional at Hatton-McCredie

Family:  Two daughters & two granddaughters

Thunderbird Proud:  I’m proud to be part of the history of a great school.  I have been out of town for years, but it was wonderful to come back and see the school community flourishing.  It is awesome to have the opportunity to work here and get to know the great kids, families, and amazing staff!

Barbie Lubbers

Graduated:  1981

Your position in the district: Central Office (Payroll/AP)

When you started working for North Callaway:  1996 (started as Health aide in Auxvasse (2 years), then went to secretary at Auxvasse (12 years), then moved to Central office (7 years and still going)

Family info:   Married (Tim 1980 graduate) 3 daughters, all NC graduates (Kellie- 2003, Nikki-2005, Jennifer-2009)

What does it mean to you to be "Thunderbird Proud?"  We are a family of North Callaway Thunderbirds, "Thunderbird Proud" means, traditions, memories, and friendships!

Brenda Maddox  

Graduated: 1981

Your position in the district: I created and was Director of Thunder Club (Before and After School Care), Secretary for the Auxvasse Elementary,  Current Job is Administrative Assistant for Superintendent Office and Board of Education Secretary.

When you started working for North Callaway: August 25, 1996.

Family info:  Married my high school sweetheart we have 2 grown children.

What does it mean to you to be "Thunderbird Proud?"  

Thunderbird Proud means more to me since I am a graduate and an employee.

As a graduate: I had a great high school experience, had excellent teachers, and made life long friends. North Callaway is where I met my husband and where we raised our children.

As an Employee: North Callaway has been a positive job experience. I have worked for the district for 21 years. I have met a lot of great staff, parents, and students.  Thunderbird Proud means family, friends, and not just a job but a place I enjoy working.  I am Thunderbird Proud to be a part of the history and staff for North Callaway R-1!!

Theresa Oberlag

Graduated:  1985

Williamsburg: Physical Education/Health - AfterSchool Site Coordinator

Started for North Callaway:  2001

Family:  Married to David(NCHS Graduate 1979) for 27 years....Tyler age 23(Graduated from NCHS in 2012, Tara And Trenton -age 20 (Graduated from NCHS in 2014)

Thunderbird Proud:  I love this school district. I went to Hatton, graduated from the HS, went to college, came back and have taught for 17 years at Williamsburg.  There is no where else I would want to teach.  I look at it as everything the school district and community has given me, and this is my opportunity to give back.”Thunderbird Proud” is easy to do, because everything about this district rocks.

Crystal Duffie Kleindienst

Graduated: 1987

Jr. High Social Studies Teacher

Sponsor: 8th Grade Class, Jr. High Musical, National Jr. Honor Society, Student Council, Quiz Bowl

Started with North Callaway in 1993

Family:  Single Mom to Ethan, 18, and Ashley, 16

Thunderbird Proud means: Working as a team of educators and parents to teach and support all of our students. We are a strong team because of our sense of school pride, deep respect, trust and overall care for one another. We are a strong team because we are family.

Lori (Wilkerson) Palmer

Graduated:  1990

Junior High ELA Teacher - Hatton

Started substitute teaching with the district in 2008

Family:  Married - Matthew, 4 children (Thomas - graduated from NCHS 2014, Julia - Senior, Christina - Sophomore, Nathan - 6th grade)

Thunderbird Proud means doing your best - whether anyone will ever know or not.  We come from a small community, but it is made from many great members doing their best everyday and giving their all to continue to make this a great community.

Kellie O'Donley Chapin

Year you graduated from NCHS:  1990

Your position in the district:  Business Manager

When you started working for North Callaway:  2008

Family:    Married  to Tim Chapin with 3 children (Emily ‘11 NCHS grad, Cole '14 NCHS grad, and Lauren '15 NCHS grad) and 4 step children (Tiffanie, Crystal, Josh, and Cheyenne '13 NCHS grad).  

What does it mean to you to be "Thunderbird Proud?"  Thunderbird proud to me means being proud to say that I am a North Callaway graduate.  My experiences at North Callaway have made me who I am today and I am glad to be able to give back to the District as an employee.

Cassie (Young) Lauer

Graduated: 1993

Your position in the district: Secondary Mathematics Teacher

When you started working for North Callaway: August 2000

Family info:  Married to  Joshua Lauer, art teacher at Williamsburg;  Kids are Miriam and Elijah (both NC students)

What does it mean to you to be "Thunderbird Proud?"  My family is rooted in the history of this school.  My grandfather, Elmo Young, served on the school board that formed the district and created North Callaway High School.  My parents both graduated from North Callaway as well as my aunts and uncles, myself, my brother, and many of my cousins.  I was excited to come back and teach at North Callaway and started here my third year of teaching, I have taught eight of my cousins during my time here.  I am "Thunderbird Proud" because I get the privilege of hopefully having an impact in this community.  There is nothing more amazing than running into a former student and find out that you made an impact on them, even if you did not realize it at the time.  This impact is not just what I have done alone but was made possible by my grandfather, teaching in an awesome building, getting to be a part of a great district, and being a part of a wonderful community to have grown up in and and now serve.

Tammy (Newbrough) Crum

Graduated: 1993

Worked in district:  Since March of 2009

Occupation:  Paraprofessional for children who have special needs

Married: Tom Crum; Children: Thomas Crum 7th grader at Auxvasse Elementary

Thunderbird Proud: I love working, teaching, and learning from all co- workers and children. I love how it takes all types of people to come together to work as a team. When we work together, great things happen.

Kevin O'Neal

Graduated:  1994

Your position in the district:  Math Teacher/Department Chair,  Head Football Coach, Head Baseball Coach

When you started working for North Callaway:  2000-2004, 2006-Present

Family info:  Married to Kari O'Neal, two sons Braydn 12 years old, and Coltyn 7 years old, both attend Auxvasse Elementary

What does it mean to you to be "Thunderbird Proud?"  Wanting the very best for everyone involved with North Callaway.  Every student, parent, teacher, administrator, and support staff.  I "bleed" green.  I want everyone at North Callaway to have pride in everything we do.

Amy Craghead

Graduated: 1997

Your position in the district: High School Business Teacher (4 years) Hatton McCredie Math Teacher (6 years)

When you started working for North Callaway: 2007

Family info:  Married to Chad (teaches JH Math at HM and Cross Country/Track Coach) 3 children (Josh Sophomore at NCHS, Kayley 5th at HM, Zac 3rd at HM)

What does it mean to you to be "Thunderbird Proud? When I had the opportunity to come back to North Callaway I realized what the other schools I had worked in were missing; the family atmosphere. I come from a family of teachers and married a family of teachers, while setting at family dinners and talking about our schools and parents I realize how lucky we are to be Thunderbirds. The students and teachers care about one another in a genuine way. We celebrate each other, cheer for each other, grieve and hurt for each other.

Amy (Gasperson-Harris) Bell

Graduated:  1999

Position in the district:  Parents as Teachers Educator

When you started with North Callaway:  2004

Family:  I married my high school sweetheart, Clifton Bell, in 2003.  We have three children, all students at Auxvasse.  Grant is a sixth grader, Keaton is a fourth grader, and Brock is in Kindergarten.

To me, Thunderbird Proud, means so many things.  It is history and tradition.  It is cheering on our athletic teams, our FFA group, and our academic clubs and organizations.  It is being proud of who we are and where we came from.  This community and the people that live here make up our roots.  Although some of us may move on to other locations, the values and lessons we learn at North Callaway will never leave us.

Sarah (Stringer) Baumgartner

Graduated: 2003

Your position in the district: Director of Special Programs

When you started working for North Callaway: August 2011

Family info:   Married to Jake Baumgartner (1999 NC graduate) and have two sons--3 year old Laine and 5 year old Noah.

What does it mean to you to be "Thunderbird Proud?"

To me, Thunderbird Proud encompasses not only school, but also community and family. Being a student and now staff member at North Callaway, I have had an opportunity to experience Thunderbird Proud in different settings. The Thunderbird community is very close, supportive, and caring. It's truly an honor to be working for a district with such a high level of care for their students and staff members. It's comforting as a parent to know my own children are attending a school that I believe will give them the education, support, opportunities and love every child deserves and receives at North Callaway.

Zeth Lavy

Graduated: 2009

Position: Paraprofessional at NCHS/Jr High Football/Assistant HS Basketball/Assistant HS Baseball

Started Working: Coach in Spring 2014/Para February 2016

To me, being Thunderbird Proud means that you are consistently willing to do whatever job needs to be done, big or small, and to do each job the absolute best you can do it.  Holding yourself to this standard day in and day out is what it means to be Thunderbird Proud.

Erikka Brown

Graduated from NCHS: 2010

Position: 5th Grade Teacher at Auxvasse Elementary

Started Working for NC: Student teacher (2013), Substitute (2013), Paraprofessional (2013), Full time teacher (2014)

Family Information: Both parents and brother are graduates of the district.

What "Thunderbird Proud" means to me: To be Thunderbird Proud means that despite where life takes you, you always take a piece of North Callaway with you. If you think about your time in this district and the people you have met, the lessons you have learned, the teachers who have inspired you, you quickly realize how much you have been shaped by North Callaway. Remembering these influences and using them to continually strive for success, that's what it means to be Thunderbird Proud.

Marena Crawford (Penn)

Graduated: 2011

Your position in the district: Counseling Office Secretary/Registrar

When you started working for North Callaway: May 2015

Family info:  

Married to Tanner Crawford (2008 Alum)  

Kids:  Charlotte Crawford (estimated arrival Dec. 28th)

What does it mean to you to be "Thunderbird Proud?"

Being Thunderbird Proud gives me pride in what I do. When I was a student I wanted to represent North Callaway with my talents and ability and now working here that feeling continues. There is no where else I can imagine working as the staff and administration continue to impress me daily. I just hope future graduates of North Callaway will continue on in their lives and think back to their days at North Callaway and have positive memories and experiences like I do.

Kalyn Meyer

Graduated: 2011

Position: Jr. High Science Teacher at Hatton-McCredie, Head Jr. High Softball coach, and Assistant High School Girls Basketball coach

Working for NC: I started working for North Callaway in 2015 after graduating with my Bachelor's Degree in Secondary Biology Education from Mizzou.

Family Info: I am very close with my family, the majority of which are also NC alumni or are current students in the NC school district. I am not married but I do have 90 kids that I take care of everyday, my students!

Thunderbird Proud: Being Thunderbird proud means doing your best to make North Callaway the most successful place it can be. It means a lot to me to be back in the school district I grew up in, and as an adult I have really gained a new outlook on what it means to be Thunderbird proud. It means working hard, supporting each other, and taking pride in wearing green, black, and white.

Morgan Beamer (Brown Emmons when in high school)

Graduated: 2011

Position: High School Math Teacher; Head Girls Basketball Coach; Throwers Coach for HS track

Started working at NC in 2014 at the age of 21. Got hired after 3 years of college with a math degree and then finished my teaching degree during my first semester of teaching.

Family Info: Married to Adam Beamer who is also an NC alum of the class of 2011. He is a web developer for M&M Golf Cars. We both graduated from Westminster College in Fulton, MO in 2015. I graduated with a Mathematics and Secondary Education Degree and Adam graduated with a Computer Science degree. We have 3 dogs, a great dane named Titus, a black lab named Tris, and then a Schnoodle named Rue. We currently do not have any children, but plan to in the future.  We live in Auxvasse and love to go on weekend trips and vacations during the summer.

Thunderbird Proud? As soon as I decided that I wanted to become an educator my dream job was to teach high school math and be the head girls basketball coach at North Callaway. This school district is more than a job to me, it is my home. I love coming to work everyday, and I love the students that I have the opportunity to teach everyday. Being Thunderbird Proud means to work hard at everything you do, to want to represent North Callaway in a positive light, to never give up on anything, and to be proud when you put on that North Callaway attire. I have been Thunderbird Proud my entire life, and I am so blessed to be able to work at the place that I call home.

Mariah McKee

Graduated: 2008

Position: Paraprofessional at the high school. Assistant High school Softball coach, Assistant High school Track coach

Started working: 2012

Family: Married to Jesse McKee from Sedalia MO. 10 month old baby, Tate.

What it means to me to be "Thunderbird Proud"- This school has had such a big impact on my life. I went to school here, played softball and almost won a state championship. I believe in this school. I think that's why I came back. I have so much pride for the green and white that I knew I somehow wanted to be a part of the students' lives that attend NCHS. And just maybe make a little impact on some of them. I'm proud of this school, and I am truly "Thunderbird Proud.”

Home.  Family.  Community.  These seem to be the resounding themes for these alumni of what it means to be Thunderbird Proud!  To all of the district employees who graduated from NCHS:  We are honored and proud that you are home!

Go Thunderbirds!

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