Louisiana Tech breaks record for most first-time freshmen

Louisiana Tech University has begun the 2023-24 academic year by welcoming the largest class of first-time freshmen in school history. This record-breaking group of students is 2,268 strong, representing a 27.8 percent increase from the previous year.

The University’s academic programs, faculty, and campus community have continued to attract students seeking an unparalleled educational experience, and the freshman class reflects the desirability of Louisiana Tech as a top-tier institution. Tech’s investment in modern facilities, research opportunities, and student services has contributed to its rising enrollment.

“This milestone is not just about the numbers; it’s about the potential and aspirations of the students we serve,” said Dr. Les Guice, President of Louisiana Tech. “This University has always been a place of innovation and opportunity. As we welcome our largest-ever freshman class, we reaffirm our commitment to providing accessible, quality education and fostering academic excellence.”

Overall, total enrollment for the 23-24 year stands at 11,612, up 5.2 percent over last year and the highest number since the COVID pandemic negatively affected university enrollment totals nationwide.

As the campus continues to evolve, including the expansion of the Enterprise Campus that aims to seamlessly connect the main campus to Downtown Ruston, the University is focused on matching the growing student body’s needs into the near future and beyond.

The record freshman enrollment follows the release of multiple significant rankings for Louisiana Tech. U.S. News & World Report named Louisiana Tech as a Top Tier National University for the 13th consecutive year in its 2024 Best Colleges list. Tech was also ranked as the state’s Top Public University, Best Value College, and Best College for Business by Niche.

Alumnus donates Camp Ruston POW diary to university

L to R: Library Specialist Tanya Arrant, Library Director Angela Dunnington, Tech alumnus Stephen Babcock, Lincoln Parish Museum Board Present Wesley Harris

An authentic German prisoner of war (POW) diary with stamping from Camp Ruston, along with other items, has been donated to the Louisiana Tech Archives by Tech alumnus Stephen Babcock.

The handmade diary is a rare find, with German watermarks and stamped as having been logged at Camp Ruston. The diary contains entries from 1945, telephone numbers, names, and more. It comes with a second U.S.-purchased diary, most likely obtained at Camp Ruston, and stamped by the same U.S. soldier, Corporal Ed Galloway, who approved it to be kept as personal property during the prisoner’s time at Camp Ruston.

The items that accompanied the diaries include a German war scene postcard from 1942, four 1936 Absolvia Third Reich cards filled with signatures, a German songbook, and a paper showing ancestry born in Germany. 

From June 1943 to June 1946, Camp Ruston served as one of more than 500 POW camps in the United States. Camp Ruston housed over 5,000 POWs at one time. About 80% were German soldiers. 

“In the spirit of collaboration and historic preservation, I am pleased to loan this WWII German POW soldier Camp Ruston handmade diary to the Camp Ruston collection at Louisiana Tech,” Babcock said. “During World War II, Camp Ruston was one of the largest prisoner-of-war camps in the United States. I hope this small addition adds to the historical tapestry of the collection and inspires curiosity.”

Historian Wesley Harris, President of the Lincoln Parish Museum, is an avid collector of Camp Ruston memorabilia. After seeing a post about the diary Harris made on social media, Babcock made the decision to purchase the items outright and loan them to the archives.

“I’ve collected memorabilia related to Camp Ruston for years. I frequently check auction sites for items related to the camp with the intent to someday donate my collection to Louisiana Tech,” Harris said. “I saw the German soldier’s diary on an auction site and posted about it in several Facebook groups hoping to generate interest in getting donations to purchase it for Tech’s Camp Ruston Collection. Tech alumnus Stephen Babcock stepped in to purchase it outright.”

Through Harris’ hours of research in the Tech Archives, he understands the importance of acquiring artifacts and documents for the collection. 

“Louisiana Tech is the major repository for Camp Ruston items, and no other World War II POW camp has been so carefully documented and its history preserved,” Harris said.

On September 16 Babcock joined Harris along with President Dr. Les Guice, Executive Director of Library Services Angela Dunnington and Library Specialist Tanya Arant for the signing of documents to finalize the loan of the items to the Special Collections Archives. 

“This is a special, one-of-a-kind piece of history that provides unique information on the life of a German POW during his time at Camp Ruston, just a few miles from Louisiana Tech’s campus,” Guice said. “To have these items on display as a part of the Louisiana Tech special collection is a privilege, and we are thankful for Stephen Babcock’s generous donation and support to our archives.”

Babcock is a native of Ruston and graduated from Tech in 1997 with a BS in Marketing. After graduation, he attended LSU Law School and lives in Baton Rouge with his wife Jessie, and daughter Audrey. Babcock is the founding partner of Babcock Trial Lawyers and has a state-wide litigation practice.

Farmerville toddler killed in two-vehicle crash

On Wednesday, September 20, 2023, shortly after 11:00 a.m., Troopers with Louisiana State Police Troop F began investigating a two-vehicle fatal crash on Interstate 20 east of LA 145.  The crash claimed the life of one-year-old Arielle Gray of Farmerville.

The preliminary investigation revealed that a 2012 Kenworth tractor “semi-truck”, driven by 50-year-old Danny Deason, was traveling east on Interstate 20, in the left lane.  At the same time, a 2009 Hyundai Genesis was traveling east on Interstate 20, in the right lane.  Deason conducted a lane change into the right lane and his vehicle struck the rear of the Hyundai.  After the initial collision, the Hyundai rotated and collided with the Kenworth’s trailer.   

Gray, who was unrestrained, was ejected from the Genesis and succumbed to her injuries at the scene.  Although impairment is not suspected, routine toxicology samples were collected and will be submitted for analysis.  This crash remains under investigation.

This week is National Child Passenger Safety Week and this Saturday, September 23, 2023 is National Seat check Saturday.

During Child Passenger Safety Week, many communities will have certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians on hand to provide free education on how to properly use car seats, booster seats, and seat belts.  It is a proven fact that child restraints save lives.  Our team can teach you how to select the proper child restraint, ensure that your child is placed into the restraint properly and that the restraint is correctly installed in your vehicle.  Everyone who participates in a Child Safety Seat Installation Program will receive one-on-one instruction from a nationally certified child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST) or instructor.

Make plans to stop by one of the nine locations across the state that are conducting free child car seat checks.  No appointment is necessary.  For location information, please see attached graphic.

In 2023, Troop F has investigated 27 fatal crashes, resulting in 31 deaths.

Tech’s best honored in the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza

Kim Mulkey, Leon Barmore and Terry Bradshaw talk before Wednesday night’s statue unveil in the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza.

By Malcolm Butler

I’ve been a part of plenty of wonderful events during my quarter of a century as part of the Louisiana Tech Athletics Department.

Plenty of them. More than I can remember.

But I won’t soon forget last night. It was on a Hall of Fame level.

Louisiana Tech honored its three Pro Football Hall of Famers and three of its four Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers during a two-hour ceremony that started on the Thomas Assembly Center floor and concluded in the newly unveiled Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza.

Terry Bradshaw. Fred Dean. Karl Malone. Kim Mulkey. Willie Roaf. Teresa Weatherspoon.

I would challenge any school — much less a non-Power 5 — to find a better six-some to represent it. And just for good measure, I would raise them a Leon Barmore, also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame who was honored two years ago with his statue.

Did you know that Tech’s four Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers is more than some basketball-rich schools like Syracuse, Arizona, Duke, Louisville, Michigan and Oklahoma to name a few? Did you know its three Pro Football Hall of Famers is the second most by any FBS non-Power 5 program?

Louisiana Tech has been blessed with not just great student-athletes, but some of the greatest to ever play the game. And they have now been memorialized.


Bronze statues. Six of them will forever reside in the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza in the north endzone of Joe Aillet Stadium. In a few more years the plaza will be part of the entry way into the Origin Bank Student-Athlete Success Center, a two-story facility that will serve and house the athletics academic center.

What better way for current day Tech student-athletes to enter a facility that will assist each and every one of them in earning their college degree. Why not walk past six of the greatest student athletes to ever don a Louisiana Tech uniform.

Motivates me just thinking about it. I may have made better grades at Tech if I had been able to walk by those six every day.

Wednesday night’s ceremony was flawless, outside of the stupid emcee (that would be me) somehow skipping over the biggest man in the building (that would be Willie Roaf) when doing the initial introductions of the six honorees. Thankfully, Willie was good natured about my opening drive fumble.

As my emceeing buddy Teddy Allen and I sat down, one by one, with each of the six and talked about their memories from the good ole days of the red and blue, one consistent message was communicated by each: their love and appreciation for their alma mater.

Stories were told. Tears were shed. Laughs were had. And I think everyone in attendance could have listened to much more from each of the six Tech legends. 

If you get a chance, I encourage you to drive by the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza and check out the statues created by world-renowned sculpture Brian Hanlon. It was a Hall of Fame effort by Brian.

And a Hall of Fame night for sure.

Ruston High basketball finds home during construction

By Kyle Roberts

Ruston High’s basketball teams will be at home in Scotty Robertson Memorial Gymnasium for the 2023-24 season on the campus of Louisiana Tech during the construction of the main gym at the high school.

“It’s a great opportunity for us,” Ruston High principal Dan Gressett. “We have been working with Tech for a couple of months to try and get something figured out. Dr. Jessica Szymanski has been very accommodating and we realize Tech had to juggle a lot of things to make this happen. We appreciate that and we are excited to be playing there this season.”

Lady Bearcat head coach Meredith Graf echoed Gressett’s appreciation.

“We are extremely thankful to Louisiana Tech for providing us with a temporary home to play our games in this year,” Graf said. “From the beginning, they have been extremely helpful in helping navigate how it could work and what needed to happen. We are excited to have Memorial Gym serve as our temporary home this year.”

Bearcat boys’ coach Ryan Bond, a former LA Tech Bulldog basketballer, expressed his gratitude, as well.

“We are very thankful that Louisiana Tech agreed to let us use their facilities,” Bond said. “Playing in the iconic Memorial Gym will make the season special.”

Ruston High’s basketball programs will begin their season in November.

Two arrested at GSU during investigation of Monroe shooting 

Two students from Monroe were arrested Tuesday at Grambling State University during the investigation of a Ouachita Parish attempted murder and drugs on campus.   

Erin D. Deburr, 18, was taken into custody on campus by the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office Tuesday morning on a warrant held by the Ouachita Parish Sheriff’s Office for attempted second degree murder.    

Later in the day, a search warrant was executed at a dorm room at Wheatley Hall at GSU. While waiting for the search warrant to arrive at the dormitory, officers of the Lincoln Parish Narcotics Enforcement Team detained Valdez D. Rogers, Jr., 18. when he stepped out of the room. When the search warrant arrived, Rogers’s backpack was opened, revealing suspected marijuana packaged in various weights along with two sets of digital scales.  

Upon questioning, Rogers said he learned DeBurr, his roommate, had been arrested. He said he saw the backpack hanging on a doorknob outside DeBurr’s closet and made the decision to remove it from the room and attempt to discard it. When asked why he did that, Rogers said he knew law enforcement would be coming to the room next.  

Rogers was booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for criminal conspiracy, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance in a drug-free zone, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bail amount was not available at press time.  

DeBurr’s arrest stems from a July drive-by shooting at the Delta Mini Mart on Old Sterlington Road in Monroe. During the investigation, Ouachita Parish detectives learned the victim was visiting with friends when he was shot in his right shoulder from a moving car.   

Information from witnesses and other investigative steps led to the identification of one of the suspects as “Big E,” who authorities determined was Deburr. Authorities later viewed a music video on YouTube and observed Deburr brandishing a firearm as he sang vague references to shootings.   

After Deburr was positively identified by witnesses in a photo lineup, Ouachita Parish authorities obtained an arrest warrant and asked the Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office to attempt to take him into custody at GSU.   

DeBurr was transferred to the Ouachita Correctional Center after being booked at the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. 

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Panthers to host Jonesboro-Hodge tonight

Junior quarterback Jordan Brown leads the Lincoln Prep Panthers into a home game against Jonesboro-Hodge tonight (Photo by T. Scott Boatright)

By T. Scott Boatright

The football field can bring a wide variety of emotions.

According to Chapter 13:55-57 in the Bible’s Book of Matthew, familiarity breeds contempt.

But when football teams are familiar with each other, what is contempt during a game often becomes respect when those teams aren’t facing each other.

Expect a healthy dose of gridiron contempt starting at 7 p.m. today as Lincoln Preparatory School plays host to Jonesboro-Hodge at Panthers Stadium.

“It’s like it was last week against Arcadia — a lot of these kids from both teams have grown up around each and know each other,”  said Lincoln Prep coach Glen Hall about his Panthers and the Tigers from Jonesboro-Hodge. “But while they’re friends, that also means that they really both want to win and beat the other.

“So our team will be fired up. And that hasn’t been a problem so far. Getting them fired up is easy. Keeping them fired up while staying calm enough to focus and execute — that’s going to be the trick about this game.”

Hall said he told his team earlier this week that they’re still like an experiment in process at this point, albeit an experiment that he feels has the potential to become a finished project that can yield explosive results.

“Part of the thing I love the most in coaching is sitting there looking at film (video), trying to find things — weak points — we can use against the other team,” Hall said. “That’s both on offense and defense. But after all these years I’ve put into this business, I’m pretty good at watching and finding things we can use against an opponent on both sides of the ball.

“I told the team this week that they’re an experiment getting pretty close to blowing up, especially on offense. Our defense does a pretty good job of flying around the field and making plays. But now I’m watching film and thinking like a scientist, mixing oil and gas trying to find the right mix to make this team explode. We’ve shown flashes, but it has to be more consistent. But I think I ‘ve found a few new things that I think maybe can make that happen this week.”

The game is a key one for both teams as they each make the move into midseason play at 1-2.

Lincoln Prep opened the season with a 14-8 loss to Madison before beating Plain Dealing 44-0.

Last week the Panthers poured on a furious rally attempt but ran out of time, falling 36-30 to Arcadia.

Jonesboro-Hodge opened the season with a 40-30 win over General Trass before falling 44-12 to West Ouachita and 54-12 last week against Bunkie.

Hall experts an inside/outside sort of game this week, with portant factor being the Tigers’ outside running attack against the dives and traps the Panthers prefer to attack with.

“They have speed and run a lot of sweeps and that kind of thing,” Hall said.about J-Hodge. “We tend to pound the ball more inside, mixing in some play action trying to get our passing going little bit to help open things up.

“But it still comes down to execution and consistency, and the team that consistently executes better than the other (tonight) should be the one that walks out the winner.”

Lincoln Prep used a four-headed rushing monster last week with running backs Jaylin Huntley and LaMarion Burton along with fullbacks D’Tavion Wright and Marvin Johnson contributing to a rushing attack that was also bolstered by scampers from quarterback Jordan Brown.

Brown also turned in a career game passing, hitting Trey Spann on a pair of scoring strikes while adding another touchdown throw to Cenario Wilson 

J-Hodge coach Terrance Blakenship will counter with Tigers’ quarterback Symeon Malone,  who had a strong game passing in the season-opener before struggling with his aerial attack the past two contests.

“Blankenship is not going to change,” Hall said. “They’re going to run his system, so they’re going to do some speed sweeps to the receivers, they’re going to run the quarterback on some traps, they’re going to try to hit you deep on some long passes.

“They don’t throw a lot of inside routes. They just try to hit you deep and run outside with their backs. They’ve got a lot of speed. If we let them get outside, we’re going to have some problems. If we keep them boxed in and put a little pressure on the quarterback, I like our chances.”



Fantasy Football Forecast

Welcome to Thursday! Week Two saw more offenses kick it into gear which increased fantasy points for individual players and teams alike. This week, we’re going to highlight some players whose fast starts look sustainable and are thus not merely “flashes in the pan” so to speak. Next week, we’ll flip the coin over and examine some unsustainable things, but for now, let’s stay positive and talk guys whose arrow will continue to point up.

Doing Well and Here to Stay:

Quarterbacks- Kirk Cousins, C.J. Stroud, Jared Goff (at home)

First off, let me just ask you to put away whatever preconceived notions you have about Kirk Cousins. Through two weeks, he has the most fantasy points of any quarterback- that we know. But, is that production here to stay? Yes and no, but mostly yes. Cousins has such elite weapons to throw to that he’ll stay top five in fantasy scoring all season. If you already have him, I would hang on to him unless someone offers you the farm with a bag of Dot’s Pretzels thrown in. If someone is willing to sell him based on those preconceived notions for a good price, buy. As for C.J. Stroud, the early results are impressive: 64% completion percentage, 300+ yards per game, and no interceptions. He’s not much of a runner, but as we noted last week, he’s turning Nico Collins into a household name. A fantasy football household that is. Finally, Jared Goff is an awesome fantasy quarterback…playing at home in Detroit. He should be started every time he plays at home. He should be your backup, though, when he plays on the road.

Running Backs- Brian Robinson, James Cook, James Conner

Wherefore art thou, Antonio Gibson? With a new offensive coordinator in Washington (Eric Bieniemy) has come a new philosophy with regards to that offense. It’s Brian Robinson’s show now and while Sam Howell isn’t a great NFL or fantasy quarterback yet, he’s good enough to keep defenses honest and allow for running lanes for Robinson. I noted in the offseason that Brian Robinson was a poor man’s Josh Jacobs in terms of usage and production. If Robinson indeed ascends this season to where I think he’s headed, Jacobs may end up the poor man’s option instead. In Buffalo, James Cook is simply not getting enough competition for carries to put a dent in his fantasy value. The Bills are clearly seeking to be a more balanced offense in 2023 (in the past, they were among the most pass-happy teams in the league) and Cook is the primary beneficiary of that climate change. Last, let’s just get this out of the way: James Conner plays on a bad (poorly run) NFL team, comparatively speaking. And, that’s why he’s such a fantasy asset moving forward if he can stay healthy. The Cardinals don’t care if they run him into the ground. They just need someone to take the body blows while they prep for being competitive in future years. Conner is their fall guy. Bad for him…but good for those counting on him for fantasy numbers.

Wide Receivers, Tight End- DeVonta Smith, George Pickens, Hunter Henry

Now, three for the road. At wide receiver, DeVonta Smith was thought of this past offseason as 1B to A.J. Brown’s 1A in the WR pecking order in Philadelphia. Two weeks into this season, Smith is looking like the better fantasy prospect and while Brown’s numbers should improve, there’s plenty of room for Smith’s numbers to hold where they currently are (15 targets, 11 receptions, 178 yards receiving, 2 TDs) for the most part on a per game basis. Jalen Hurts, after all, hasn’t thrown for more than 193 yards in either of Philadelphia’s games so far and that will change as (again) he gets used to a new offensive coordinator. George Pickens, meanwhile, is a guy I mentioned last week and I too think his production has staying power. Like Garrett Wilson, Pickens will have some poor games due to a young, inexperienced QB throwing him the ball, but his top 10-15 status as a WR is here to stay. Feel free to trade for either Smith or him if you can. Last but not least, I keep talking about the impact of new offensive coordinators. They are the primary persons that change the landscape of fantasy football. That’s why Hunter Henry’s on this list. New coordinator. New role. Increased success.

More to come next week- Best of luck this week as always!


Kirk Hollis is a 1989 Ruston High School graduate and has written for Fantasy Football Today, one of the nation’s top fantasy info sites, for 15 years.

Local man arrested for second DWI

A Ruston man was arrested for his second DWI Friday night after he was stopped by Grambling Police for suspected impaired driving.

A Grambling officer stopped Quintrellous D. Cooks, 33, after observing him committing improper lane usage. A Louisiana State Police trooper was called to the scene to assist. The trooper observed signs of alcohol intoxication, including poor performance on field sobriety tests.

Cooks was arrested and taken to the Lincoln Parish Detention Center for a breath test. The test showed Cooks’s blood alcohol concentration to be .130g%.

A records check showed Cooks had a previous DWI in 2014. He was booked for DWI second offense and improper lane usage. Bail was set at $2,500.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Guillory earns National Merit commendation

By Kyle Roberts

Ruston High School senior Austin Guillory has been named a Commended Student in the 2024 National Merit Scholarship Program and was presented his honor on Wednesday.

“Austin is a great student and a great representative for Ruston High,” Ruston High principal Dan Gressett said. “I’m not surprised at all that he is being recognized for this honor. He works hard in the classroom and we are excited for him. “

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2024 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 students who entered the 2024 competition by taking the 2022 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Woman injures herself in assault on victim

Grambling Police arrested a 19-year-old Ruston woman Saturday evening after responding to a 911 call at an apartment on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

When officers arrived at the scene, Peyton J. Garr was standing in the front yard holding a switchblade knife and bleeding profusely from her right arm. The caller was standing outside holding a baseball bat. Both were directed to drop their weapons. 

The victim said she was in bed sleeping when she heard a loud knock on her front door. She stated she did not get up until she heard knocking at her rear bedroom window. The victim stated she opened the door and Garr entered the apartment in an aggressive manner attempting to strike her with a closed fist.

The victim said she fought Garr to get her off her and out of the apartment. After Garr was outside, the victim reportedly locked the door and heard her kitchen window shatter. She opened the door and found Garr bleeding and asked her to leave but she refused. Garr then allegedly returned to her vehicle and armed herself with a knife, stating, “I’m going to kill you.”

The victim said she feared for her life and armed herself with a bat and called 911.

Garr apparently punched the window and cut herself. The Grambling Fire Department and Ruston Ambulance Service responded to provide medical aid. Garr refused to be transported by ambulance to the hospital but was taken by a GPD officer to the North Louisiana Medical Center for treatment. After release, she was transported to the Lincoln parish detention center and booked for battery of a dating partner, home invasion, and simple criminal damage to property.

This information has been provided by a law enforcement agency as public information. Persons named or shown in photographs or video as suspects in a criminal investigation, or arrested and charged with a crime, have not been convicted of any criminal offense and are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

Ruston High – LCA game information available

Ruston High School principal Dan Gressett is reminding fans of important information regarding the football game between the Bearcats and Lafayette Christian Academy scheduled for Friday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at The Hoss.

“We are expecting a big home crowd Friday night, and I feel like LCA will travel well too,” Gressett said. “We highly recommend getting your tickets early to avoid the lines. We have tickets available from 8:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. every day in our ticket office at RHS. We have very few reserved tickets available, but we do have general admission.

“Tickets are $12 for reserved and $10 for general admission. We will be opening up the south bleacher section (near the band) for general admission seating like we did last year at times. Gates will open at 5:30. Please remember our stadium policies, specifically that we do not allow loitering underneath the bleachers nor do we allow anyone under the age of 17 (unless a current RHS student) to enter without an adult.

“We are looking forward to a great night in Hoss Garrett Stadium.”

The official policies for Hoss Garrett Stadium are attached below.

COLUMN: The electric flowerpot

Have you ever heard of an Electric Flowerpot?  Akiba Horowitz was born in Minsk, Russia in 1856.  At the young age of fifteen, Akiba moved to Berlin, Germany where he studied liquor distillation.  In 1891, Akiba immigrated to the United States.  Upon entering the country, Akiba changed his name to something more American.  He called himself Conrad Hubert.  Conrad, now 35 years old, needed to find work immediately.  In New York, Conrad operated a cigar store, a boarding house, a restaurant, and a jewelry store.  Conrad was not satisfied until he began operating a novelty shop. 

All things dealing with electrical power following the invention of the light bulb were in fashion.  Conrad was a tinkerer.  During his lifetime, Conrad’s patented inventions included “the first automatic electric self-starter for automobiles, …the first exact amount check protector, the autoped,” and an electric gas lighter.       

Joshua Lionel Cowen was an inventor as well.  Joshua had invented the electric doorbell and the electric fan, both of which initially failed to find a market.  People complained about the protracted ring of the doorbell, and the fan produced only the slightest breeze.  His most successful product, which was the most popular item Conrad sold in his novelty shop, was his battery-powered light up tie tacks.           

Joshua and Conrad had numerous discussions about their ideas for inventions.  During one such conversation, Joshua told Conrad about one of his most recent inventions, the electric flowerpot.  The contraption was made up of a battery within a paper tube with a light bulb at one end.  The tube was mounted in the center of a flowerpot.  Once the battery was switched on, the light illuminated the plants in the flowerpot.  Joshua had patented his electric flowerpot, but he was unsure of its marketability.  Conrad had faith in the invention and convinced Joshua to sell him the patent. 

Conrad manufactured a large number of electric flowerpots, added them to his inventory, and began advertising.  In the summer of 1894, citizens in Buffalo, New York held a Fourth of July fireworks competition.  Among the prizes were American flags, balloons, packages of fireworks, toy cap pistols, small battery-powered lights, and Conrad’s electric flowerpots.  Despite his best efforts, the electric flowerpot was a failure. 

Conrad had a surplus of electric flowerpots which were in no danger of being sold.  David Misell, an employee of Conrad’s novelty shop, tinkered with the electric flowerpot to see if he could help Conrad create something marketable from its parts.  David had previously invented a wooden-cased signal light and a bicycle light.  David and Conrad separated the tube and bulb from the flowerpot.  They lengthened the tube so they could fit three “D” batteries inside it, and added a brass reflector under the light bulb.  Finally, they had a product that Conrad thought he could sell.  They filed a patent application for the “Electric Device” in March of 1898.  The paperwork listed David as the device’s inventor and Conrad as a witness.  The patent was awarded in January of 1899.  Because David was an employee of Conrad’s, he assigned the patent rights to the device to Conrad’s novelty company.  Conrad added the device to the inventory of his novelty shop.  The device sold very well, but the public had just one complaint.  The “D” batteries would only illuminate the light bulb for a short time before the customer had to replace the batteries.  Due to the device’s short battery life, customers said the device could only produce a flash of light.  In many English-speaking countries, the device is generally referred to as a torch.  In the United States, Conrad’s customers gave the device a nickname that stuck.  They called it the Flashlight.         


1.      Buffalo Courier Express, June 24, 1894, p.15.

2.     The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 17, 1928, p.2.

3.     The Standard Union (Brooklyn, New York), March 18, 1928, p.8.

4.     “Conrad Hubert.” www.nndb.com. Accessed September 17, 2023. https://www.nndb.com/people/439/000169929/.

5.     “Stories of Inventors and Their Inventions: Conrad Hubert.” www.linkedin.com. Accessed September 17, 2023. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/stories-inventors-inventions-conrad-hubert-elena-louis.

Chance at free money just minutes away

To enter this week’s contest, CLICK HERE!


Week #4 of the Karl Malone Toyota College Football Pick’em Contest presented by Heard Construction and Martin Presence is underway.

One lucky winner will claim $200 … with the potential to make it $400 if they are perfect on the week (including predicting the No. 1 tiebreaker exactly right).

This week YOU could be our lucky winner. It just takes a few minutes to click on the link above and fill out a form for FREE. It could mean $200 in your pocket if you choose wisely.

Anyone is eligible to participate for FREE and each week’s winner will go home with a $200 cash prize.  Each week the winner will be the participant with the best record out of 13 selected college football games (ties will be broken by two separate tiebreakers consisting of guessing the total points scored in two other games).

The Karl Malone Toyota College Football Pick’em Contest presented by Martin Presence and Heard Construction will be conducted over the 13 regular season weeks of the college season starting with Week 1 games (Sept. 2) and running through the end of November.

There is no entry fee, just like there is no cost to subscribe to the Lincoln Parish Journal. 

All contest decisions by Lincoln Parish Journal management are final. Weekly winners will be notified Monday and will be requested to take a photo that will run that week in the LPJ.

Every participant will receive a FREE subscription to the Journal, if you’re not already signed up for the easily-navigated, convenient 6:55 a.m. daily e-mail. Enjoy it all, for FREE, and enter each week’s contest. You could collect $200 each week (or $400 if you can have a perfect week with the correct tiebreaker).


The Lincoln Parish Journal wants to thank Karl Malone Toyota, Martin Presence and Heard Construction for their title and presenting sponsorships of this year’s college football pick’em contest.

We also want to thank Super Movers, American Mattress Outlet, the Dugout, the Ensure Agency, National Jewelry, Hart Designs, Tanyard Creek, Ginn’s Autobody, Ruston Eye and Vision, Pearce Lumber and Bearcat Nation Network for their Pick’em Partnerships within the contest.

Bulldogs host Jax State on the pitch

Courtesy of Louisiana Tech Athletics Communications

The Louisiana Tech Soccer team is set to play three of its next four matches at Robert Mack Caruthers Field, starting on Thursday night with a Conference USA matchup versus Jacksonville State.

Date/Time: Thursday, Sept. 21 | 7 p.m. CT
Location: Robert Mack Caruthers Field (Ruston, La.)
Stream: ESPN+
Stats: LATechSports.com/Stats
Series: LA Tech leads 4-1-0

LA Tech looks to snap its three-game losing skid after falling, 4-3, in a shootout with New Mexico State in the CUSA opener this past Sunday. The Bulldogs battled back from a two-goal deficit to tie it up at 2-all after goals by Lauren Egbuloniu and Avery Kyle, but the Aggies added two more goals in the second half to win for the first time ever in the series.

Two of LA Tech’s three goals came off converted penalty kicks, one by Egbuloniu and the other by Carmen Suarez who tallied her first goal of the season. After going the first six matches this year without a penalty kick, the Bulldogs have taken four in their last four games and converted three of them.

LA Tech eclipsed three goals for the fourth time this season, helping to give them a 2.20 goals per game average. Their 22 goals scored ranks third in CUSA. However, they surrendered four goals to the Aggies, which marked the sixth time this year that the defense has had at least three goals allowed.

Egbuloniu posted her team-leading sixth goal scored. She also leads the team with 14 points, having notched at least one point in six of the 10 matches played. Defensively, Sophie Fijneman leads the way with most minutes played this season at 859. Fijneman and fellow defender Josie Studer have logged a combined 11,049 minutes as Bulldogs.

Jacksonville State is coming off a 2-0 shutout loss against Sam Houston in what was its first ever CUSA match as a new member of the league. The Gamecocks surrendered a goal in the first and second half to the Bearkats in getting blanked for the fourth time this season. JSU is 1-3-0 on the road this year with its lone win coming at Alabama State a week ago.

Statistically, the Gamecocks have one of the highest-scoring offenses in the league with 2.70 goals per game. However, 18 of their 27 total goals scored this season came in the first two matches of the season versus Alabama A&M and South Carolina State.

Laleh Lonteen and Naroa Domenech each lead JSU offensively with six goals scored followed closely by Camryn Davis who has five. Defensively, Bailey Dean has started all 10 of their matches in goal with a 1.58 goals against average and 37 total saves.

LA Tech and Jacksonville State will face off for the sixth time ever on the pitch with the Bulldogs holding a 4-1-0 advantage. The ‘Dogs have won four of the five meetings with a 7-1 scoring advantage. They won the first ever matchup, which came in Ruston back in 2010. The other time the Bulldogs and Gamecocks squared off in Ruston was the last meeting in 2017 with LA Tech shutting out JSU, 2-0.

Remembering Ricky Glen Basinger

Ricky Glen Basinger

A celebration of life for SSG Ricky Glen Basinger, age 69 of Ruston, LA will be held at 3:00 PM, Monday, September 25, 2023 at Owens Memorial Chapel in Ruston. Visitation will be held from 1:00-3:00 PM, Monday, September 25, 2023 at the funeral home.

Ricky was born December 17, 1953 in Shreveport, LA to William Earl and Edith Chlorine Basinger and passed away peacefully September 14, 2023 at the family home in Ruston. He graduated from Saline High School in 1971 and joined the U.S. Army in 1973. Ricky served in the U.S. Army for seven years before his honorable discharge. He worked offshore for a time before working at Bear Creek Storage Station for the next 33 years. While still working at Bear Creek, Ricky also served in the U.S. National Guard, 527th Engineering Group, for a total of over 21 years of decorated service. He was a Gulf War Veteran. Ricky was a beloved husband, daddy and pawpaw. He met and married Dawn Christine Shipley in 1980 and together celebrated 43 years of marriage. For those that knew Ricky, many teased Dawn for how he spoiled her. Ricky made her breakfast, packed her lunch and made dinner. On days when Dawn would teach a night class at Louisiana Tech University, the phone in the computer lab would ring at 5:05 PM so that he could tell her what she was having for dinner. Ricky took care of the plumbing, electrical, carpentry, the yard and grocery shopping for over 30 years. It was an honor to be his wife.

Ricky is survived by his wife Dr. Dawn Basinger of Ruston, LA; two sisters: Brenda Hill (Gary) and Jeannie Basinger; children: Heather M. Smith (Stacy) of Ruston, LA, Eddie Basinger (Tifani) of Daphne, AL and Casey McCaa (Rob) of Calhoun, LA; six grandchildren: Ryan Phagan (Arianna), Ian Phagan, Sam Phagan, Mason Basinger, Sofie Basinger and McKinley McCaa.

The family would like to thank Dr. Jonathan Baines, nurse Courtney Delaney, the staff at Ruston Regional Specialty Hospital, the staff at Alpine Rehabilitation Center, Elara Caring Home Health and Elara Caring Hospice.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrier Project or to Tunnels to Towers.

Notice of death — Sept. 20, 2023

Royce Brooks 
Sunday 01/29/1950 — Saturday 09/16/2023 
Visitation: Friday 09/22/2023 3:00pm to 7:00pm at King’s Funeral Home 
Celebration of Life: Saturday 09/23/2023-11am at King’s Funeral Home 
Private (Final Disposition) 

Donnie Brown 
August 5, 1945 – September 18, 2023 
Visitation, Tuesday, September 26, 2023, 1:30 PM – 3:00 PM, Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home 
Memorial Service: Tuesday, September 26, 2023, 3:00 PM, Owens Memorial Chapel Funeral Home 

James D. Mamon  
Wednesday 06/27/1962 — Saturday 09/09/2023  
Family Gathering: Thursday 09/21/2023 2:00 pm  
Visitation: Thursday 09/21/2023 3:00pm to 6:00pm at King’s Funeral Home  
Celebration of Life: Friday 09/22/2023 1:00pm, Springhill Baptist Church, 727 Dicks Store Road, Grambling  
Interment: Friday 09/22/2023 Following Service  

Vern Ella Blevins  
Friday 03/09/1945 — Friday 09/08/2023   
Family Gathering: Friday 09/22/2023 2:00pm at King’s Funeral Home  
Visitation: Friday 09/22/2023 3:00pm to 5:00pm at King’s Funeral Home  
Celebration of Life: Saturday 09/23/2023 1:00pm, Fellowship Baptist Church, Hwy 507, Simsboro,  
Interment: Saturday 09/23/2023 Following Service, Fellowship Church Cemetery, Highway 507, Simsboro  

Bobby Mattox  
Died: Monday 09/11/2023  
Family Gathering: Thursday 09/21/2023 2:00pm at King’s Funeral Home  
Visitation: Thursday 09/21/2023 3:00pm to 5:00pm at King’s Funeral Home  
Celebration of Life: Friday 09/22/2023 1:00pm at King’s Funeral Home 

Thelma J. Mack Marish  
Friday 04/19/1929 — Thursday 09/14/2023   
Family Gathering: Friday 09/22/2023 2:00pm to 3:00pm at King’s Funeral Home  
Visitation: Friday 09/22/2023 3:00pm to 6:00pm, St. Rest Baptist Church, 813 St. Rest Road, Quitman  
Celebration of Life: Saturday 09/23/2023 10:00am, St Rest Baptist Church, 813 Saint Rest Rd, Quitman  
Interment: Saturday 09/23/2023 Following Service, Mt. Zion Cemetery, Quitman 

A.E. Phillips earns National Blue Ribbon School recognition

A.E. Phillips Laboratory School has been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School for 2023.

The Lincoln Parish-based school consisting of grades K through 8th is one of 353 schools across the country to receive the impressive designation, which is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student groups on assessments.

A.E. Phillips Director Jenny Blalock said she was pleasantly surprised when learning of the nomination and extremely grateful for everyone who has been a part of the school’s success.

“I would like to express my gratitude to everyone for the support and encouragement provided to our faculty and staff on a daily basis,” said Blalock.  “Our Bullpup family is a special aspect of our school for which I am truly grateful. 

“I would also like to thank Lincoln Parish School Board superintendent Ricky Durrett and his team, Louisiana Tech President Dr. Les Guice and his staff, professors of the College of Education and Human Sciences and Dr. Don Schillinger. They have all served as a support system for the faculty and staff of A.E. Phillips.

“This honor would not have been possible without their support and guidance.  It’s difficult to express the depth of gratitude to our stellar faculty and staff and Bullpups.”

With its 40th cohort, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed approximately 10,000 awards to more than 9,700 schools. The National Blue Ribbon School award affirms and validates the hard work of students, educators, families, and communities in striving for – and attaining – exemplary achievement. National Blue Ribbon Schools represent the full diversity of American schools and serve students of every background.

“I am grateful daily that my children are fortunate to benefit from the blessing that place is and the way each child and team member is valued,” said Lindsey Keith-Vincent, Louisiana Tech Associate Dean for Research, Outreach and Innovation. “This award is a testament to what can happen when folks come together to work towards a shared, meaningful goal in order to make a big impact.”

While awardee schools represent the diverse fabric of American schools, they also share some core elements. National Blue Ribbon School leaders articulate a vision of excellence and hold everyone to high standards. They demonstrate effective and innovative teaching and learning, and the schools value and support teachers and staff through meaningful professional learning. Data from many sources are used to drive instruction and every student strives for success. Families, communities, and educators work together toward common goals.

National Blue Ribbon Schools serve as models of effective and innovative school practices for state and district educators and other schools throughout the nation. A National Blue Ribbon School flag gracing a school’s entryway or on a flagpole is a widely recognized symbol of exemplary teaching and learning.

The Department recognizes all schools in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:

  • Exemplary High-Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap-Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students. Nominated schools also complete an extensive narrative application describing their school culture and philosophy, curriculum, assessments, instructional practices, professional development, leadership structures, and parent and community involvement.

Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites nominations for the National Blue Ribbon Schools award from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, U.S. territories, the Department of Defense Education Activity, and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by the Council for American Private Education.

Click HERE for more info on A.E. Phillips Laboratory School.

Police jury candidates offer reasons for running in forum

Lincoln Parish Police Jury candidates from District 9, 10, and 11 gathered at a second public forum Tuesday night. Here is the final question: Why should voters elect you? See their responses below.

Morris “MoLove” Winters – District 10: “I’m for the people. I’ve always been for the people. I understand business. These qualifications I already have. Win or lose, I’m still going to be involved and still work with the entire jury; not just the juror of my district. I’m going to get involved regardless, because I have businesses in Districts 1 and 2, in the Grambling area. I have businesses in other districts, so with that being said, I’m all for Lincoln Parish. Regardless if I’m representing District 10 or not, I’m still going to be part of this jury, because we have to be seen somewhere involved and speaking for the constituents.”

Gary “Wayne” Baldwin – District 10: “I’m the right choice. As Mr. Winters stated, I’ve been to every meeting I could be and voiced my opinion in a lot of situations. I do not throw anyone under the bus. I just come direct from the hip because the people asked me to speak out and be their voice, because they know that I love each and every person I meet. I have no enemies. The time has come where we need to step up and let others know how much we care for each other. And my people down there know I care for them. Like it was said in the beginning, I give food to the elderly. Every time I go to Arcadia, I bring it back to Ruston and pass food around to the elderly. I do what I can for all the people. That’s why I said I’m the best choice.

Milton Melton – District 10: “It’s simple. I’m qualified and have the experience. I’m knowledgeable, and I’m the best man for the job.”

Joe Henderson – District 9: “I know I’m the best qualified person for the job, based on my experience knowing budgets, finances, government rules, mandates, taxes and millages, how they are calculated. I know how to carry out budgets and how to plan for budgets. And we’ve all got to remember something: every tax dollar is dedicated to something. You can’t just spend money because you have it. You have to spend it based on what the people say you can spend it on… You can’t move money between budgets. If it’s dedicated, you have to spend it just for that. I’m the best qualified person because of my experience and knowledge.”

Nakisha Evans – District 9: “I’ve been a homeowner since the age of 26 years old. What young person do you know that spends money on a home at the age of 26? I purchased my first car at the age of 17 after getting my GED. I purchased my second property eight years ago in District 9. Why not vote for someone who knows what a budget looks like and is very responsible? Who knows how to spend their money?”

Sharyon Mayfield – District 11: “I am experienced, qualified and knowledgable. And I think I know practically everyone in my area of Ruston, but I’ve tried to get out and meet the people. So I think I’m qualified, I have the knowledge, and I have the experience.”

Diane Richards – District 11: “With my finance and tax professional skills, I would be a good steward of the taxpayers’ money. Also, I have researched and know that Highway 818 is a state road. I am aware and I know that I can take care of that road for District 11. I’ve talked to the right people, and if I’m elected, that’s going to be the first thing on the agenda: to take care of Highway 818.”

Patsy Candler – District 11: “Voters should elect me because I’m qualified, I’m knowledgable, and I have experience. I’ve sat on multiple boards. One of the boards, I’m the treasurer that oversees a multimillion-dollar grant. So I understand grants. I understand budgets. When I look at a budget, I’m not going to be lost, because I know there are issues in the budget that are earmarked… You can’t do whatever you want to do with a budget. But I will be able to discern what is for my district when I look at it. I will be able to ensure that they will get all of the money that’s been earmarked for District 11 for roads or what have you. I will be sure it is spent in the correct manner. And I will be a good steward over your finances. I’m going to be watching over your finances. I’m qualified to sit on any board and any committee that this police jury has right now. You don’t find many people ready to come through the door with all of the qualifications that I have.”

Lincoln Leadership class announced for 2023-24

The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the Leadership Lincoln Class for 2023-2024. These individuals will begin the program in September and spend the year deepening their knowledge of the community and critical industries across Lincoln Parish before graduating in May 2024.

Graduates of this 10-month program will receive a firsthand look at industries within our community, including social services, healthcare, education, tourism, government, economic development, diversity, local industry and more. This class will equip participants to apply leadership insights to their careers and positively influence their community.

“Leadership Lincoln is a great opportunity to gain firsthand knowledge of our region’s assets, and I want to congratulate each of these participants for their desire to become more involved in this community,” said Elizabeth Turnley, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. “The 37th class of Leadership Lincoln has a shared desired to learn more about the Lincoln Parish community and make a lasting impact, and I look forward to seeing everything they will accomplish both during the program and beyond.”

This course provides opportunities for potential leaders to meet, network and establish ongoing professional relationships. Past graduates of Leadership Lincoln attest this course develops leadership skills and broadens knowledge of the business community.

“I am excited to welcome this incoming class for Leadership Lincoln,” said Will Dearmon, President and CEO of the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. “Over the course of the next 10 months, this class will be exposed to critical industries across Lincoln Parish through the lens of leadership development and have the opportunity to develop meaningful professional connections.”

Below are the members of the 2023-2024 Leadership Lincoln Class:

  • Connor Snook, Century Next Bank
  • Jacqueline Jerro, Century Next Bank
  • Kaitlin McGaugh, Century Next Bank
  • Kristie Bardell, Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana
  • Theresa Lawson, Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana
  • Natalie O’Rourke, Coordinating and Development Corporation
  • Jazmaigne Sears, Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana
  • John Robert Smith, Hunt Guillot & Associates
  • Michael Davis, Hunt Guillot & Associates
  • Drew Moore, Hunt Guillot & Associates
  • Tucker Deaton, Hunt Guillot & Associates
  • Jacob Cole, Louisiana National Bank
  • Lindsay Keith-Vincent, Louisiana Tech University
  • Jeffrey Haynie, Louisiana Tech University
  • April Bagwell, Origin Bank
  • Mollie Edmiston, Origin Bank
  • Macey Martin, Origin Bank
  • MaKayla Sadler, Southern AgCredit

To learn more about the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, visit rustonlincoln.org.

Turners gift $100,000 to grow medical laboratory science program

Rosemary “Toni” Wurster Chandler Turner, a 1964 graduate of Louisiana Tech’s Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Program, and her husband, Dr. William W. Turner, Jr., longtime surgeon and educator, have gifted $100,000 to grow the University’s MLS Program in the School of Biological Sciences in Tech’s College of Applied and Natural Sciences.

Part of the gift is allocated to establish an endowed scholarship. The Turners have established two other endowed scholarships, each in the amounts of $100,000, in the past five years.

“We are very grateful to Toni and Bill for establishing an endowed scholarship for our Medical Laboratory Science degree program,” ANS Dean Dr. Gary Kennedy said. “This is the first endowed scholarship for the MLS program, and it will provide great support for our students.”

“Medical Laboratory Science graduates play important roles in providing healthcare professionals with medical laboratory test results regarding the diagnosis and treatment of various conditions,” he said. “We appreciate Dr. and Mrs. Turner’s support of this important healthcare profession.” 

From the $100,000 gift, $25,000 will be used to establish “The Rosemary ‘Toni’ Wurster Chandler Turner Endowed Medical Laboratory Science Scholarship Honoring Professor S. S. Kilgore.” The annual scholarship will be awarded to a senior MLS student under the program’s accreditation guidelines and other criteria created by the Turners.

Friends and former students of Professor S.S. Kilgore and his wife, Colleen, established a scholarship honoring the kind and caring couple shortly after his death in 1997. Professor Kilgore came to Tech in 1954, and he served as the Head of the Medical Technology Program when Toni was a student earning her “Med Tech” degree. During Professor Kilgore’s tenure, the program grew with the changing scope of clinical laboratory science.  Along with the help of Colleen, Professor Kilgore was able to obtain many grants that enhanced research and academics in the program. “Professor Kilgore was a great teacher and mentor, and he and Colleen were major supporters of his students,” Tony said.

The allocation of the remaining $75,000 will be designated to the “Turner (Rosemary ‘Toni’ Wurster Chandler & William W. Jr.) Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Fund” to promote and grow the University’s MLS Program.

Toni Chandler Turner, a Forever Loyal alumna, longtime community service enthusiast and Dallas resident, was valedictorian of her 1960 senior class at Block High School in Jonesville, Louisiana before graduating from Tech and beginning her career as a medical technologist.  An early career change led her to 34 years with Delta Airlines as a flight attendant based in Houston, New Orleans, Dallas, Cincinnati, and Atlanta, serving on both domestic and international routes.

While a Tech student, Toni was active in the Sigma Kappa Sorority and the Wesley Foundation.  She competed in the Miss Louisiana Pageant representing Catahoula Parish, and she danced in the Royal Ballet of the Natchez Pilgrimage.

She has been just as active during her post-college life as both a professional and volunteer, and her support of her alma mater has been unwavering.

In 2018, she and her husband established the “Rosemary ‘Toni’ Wurster Chandler Turner Health Science Endowed Scholarship in Memory of Oscar and Emeline Wurster,” Toni’s grandparents. The Wurster family now includes nearly two dozen former and future Tech students.

In 2020, the Turners established the “Rosemary “Toni” Wurster Chandler Turner and Dr. William W. Turner, Jr. Endowment” to support and grow Tech’s School of Biological Sciences and health science programs.

Tech Athletics goes extra yard for educators

Simsboro teacher Felicia Dunbar and members of her class join Louisiana Tech officials, student-athletes and spirit group members.


Teachers are often known to go into overtime working for the good of the students and schools where they work.

On Tuesday, the Louisiana Tech University athletics department teamed up to go a little extra distance and express their appreciation as they joined Conference USA in showing their support for some local teachers in conjunction with the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation through its Extra Yard for Teachers (EYFT) platform. 

Tuesday’s announcement was made as part of the CFP Foundation’s Big Day for Teachers — a day where the college football community comes together to celebrate and honor teachers.

Associate A.D. for External Operations at Louisiana Tech Kyle Kavanuagh and Louisiana Tech sophomore guard Jordan Crawford, who played on multiple boys state championship teams at Simsboro, returned to the school to go an extra yard for teacher Felicia Dunbar. Dunbar used to teach across the hall from Kavanaugh during his days as a former teacher and coach at Simsboro High School.

Joined by other Tech athletics, members of the Cheer Team and other athletic department members, Kavanaugh and Crawford paid a visit to Dunbar’s class to present her with a $500 gift card and other trinkets in recognition of the Big Day for Teachers.

“We wanted to come tell you thank you for everything you do for Simsboro, the parish, the community and me personally spending two years across the hall from you,” Kavanaugh said. “You were a huge asset for me and I know you’ve taught athletes and students like Jordan who have and will move on to do really great things at the next level, something that you have played a part in.”

SHS Principal Lacey Holcomb was in on the surprise but excited nonetheless.

“I’m so honored one of our teachers was selected for this, and she’s a great one to choose,” Holcolmb said.  

Lincoln Parish Superintendent of Schools Ricky Durrett, once a basketball coach at SHS, was also on hand for the visit.

“It’s always great to be a partner with Louisiana Tech and have their athletic department and their education working with us, and this is just another example of that,” Durrett said. 

The Big Day for Teachers is part of Extra Yard for Teachers Week (Sept. 15-23). Created in 2015 as a national celebration of teachers, EYFT Week is supported by the CFP Foundation and its college football partners. The CFP Foundation works in close partnership with the universities, conferences, bowls, ESPN and education supporters across the country to honor and recognize the meaningful work of teachers for the entire week.

“Our partnership with the Conference USA has been simply outstanding in our efforts to support teachers and celebrate their important roles with our children,” said CFP Foundation Executive Director Britton Banowsky. “We couldn’t have the nationwide reach we have without our wonderful partners throughout the country. Extra Yard for Teachers Week and the Big Day are incredible efforts when we all come together for teachers and make a real difference. We are so thankful to Conference USA (CUSA) and the difference it is making for educators.”