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Jeffrey Neighbors
Aquaponic Lettuce

By Jeffrey Neighbors

    Students at Pryor High School are always happy to learn when they are having burgers for lunch, and those who enjoy vegetables, are eager to add lettuce to their meal. However, a lot of these students probably don’t consider where the leaves on their sandwich originated. Once a year, the students in FFA (Future Farmers of America) have the answer to where the school’s lettuce came from.

    Within the FFA related classes are animal science, agricultural mechanics, and horticulture. Leading these classrooms are teachers Walter Taylor and Jarrod Melugin. Taylor is in charge of the horticulture class and once a year provides aquaponic lettuce. Aquaponics is defined by Oxford Dictionaries as “a system of aquaculture in which the waste produced by farmed fish or other aquatic creatures supplies the nutrients for plants grown hydroponically, which in turn purify the water.”

Aquaponic Lettuce Greenhouse

According to Taylor, the aquaponic lettuce “shows students alternative ways to have sustainable agriculture as the population grows.”

Aquaponic Leaf Lettuce

The horticulture class uses species of fish such as bass and perch to create a symbiotic relationship that supplies nutrients to the leaf lettuce plants. Lettuce is the plant of choice for this lesson in aquaponics as it has a quick growth rate and allows students to enjoy the fruits of their labor in the lunchroom. The students begin growing the lettuce in early October and harvest the plants in December.

    For the last three years FFA students have been growing aquaponic lettuce for the school and will continue to do so as a way of teaching students alternative forms of agriculture, preparing the possibility of little to no land for traditional methods of farming.

Local Teen Competes in Miss Teen Oklahoma

by Jeffrey Neighbors

Senior Seyton Thomas is preparing to take the stage to compete for the title of Miss Teen Oklahoma 2019. The pageant will take place in Shawnee at the Grand Hotel and Casino from October 20th to October 21st. Thomas’ leadership qualities, academic strengths, and community involvement were the reasons she was selected as a contestant.

Seyton Thomas

Thomas added that she had to fill out an application and go through an interview process to be considered as a contestant. Highlighting community involvement and extracurricular activities, Thomas’ application stood out to Vanbros and Associates Inc., the talent agency that produces Miss Teen Oklahoma. Thomas is president of Rotary Interact, a four year member of varsity soccer, football cheerleader, Impact Council member, and founder of Operation Obligation.

Representing Mayes County, she will compete in active wear, swimwear, evening gown, and also engage in a personal interview. The pageant has two divisions, and the winners will represent Oklahoma in the 2019 Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Pageant.

The Miss USA Pageant System emphasizes good morals, physical fitness, communication skills, social awareness and community involvement.

Thomas added that she would like “to say thank you to the Pryor High School staff and the community for helping me grow and supporting me through all of this. If it wasn't for them, I probably wouldn't be doing this right now.”

Anatomage Table

By Jeffrey Neighbors and Annie White

Thanks to Google and the Pryor Public School Board, PHS students now have a whole new opportunity to learn about anatomy of human and animal bodies. Most high school students have either seen or performed a dissection in their science class, be it a frog, worm, or pig.

deversHowever, not many students can say they have dissected a human cadaver.

Cadaver dissection, virtual that is, will soon be available due to Google's partnership with the Pryor School Board making the purchase of the $80,000 Anatomage Table possible. According to Anatomage Inc., the equipment is the most technologically advanced virtual dissection table and is used at the most prestigious medical institutions in the world.

Honors anatomy and physiology teacher Victor Holleyman stated that the Anatomage Table features include images of two male and one female cadaver, as well as over 350 animal specimens such as an alligator, python, and dachshund. The table not only allows students to perform dissections, but students will also be able to view entire body systems, observe pathologies, and engage in surgeries. Viewing MRI and CT scans, in addition to sonograms also falls under the capabilities of the table.

The table is available for use by all members of the science department but will be most frequently used by Biology I, Biology II, Zoology, and Anatomy and Physiology. Holleyman said that, “As far as human anatomy goes, it’s amazing.” He went on to explain that although this new technology is incredibly useful for dissection and anatomy related material in the classroom, it is certainly not a replacement for physical dissections. Pryor students will still engage in hands-on dissections.  

Biology teacher Aimee McKinzie added, “Pryor High School is extremely fortunate to have an item such as the table, especially since neither Rogers State or Northeastern State University owns one.”

School Resource Officers
By Jeffrey Neighbors
For the 2018-2019 school year, Pryor Public Schools has increased priority on ensuring the safety and security of
its students by employing full-time School Resource Officers (SRO). Students will see officers Tommy Parker (Pryor High School and Alternative Education SRO), Johnnie Jenkins (Pryor Junior High SRO), and Justin Couch (elementary SRO) when they are at school.

Parker wants the students and staff to know that he is at the high school to ensure safety of the students. Parker considers himself a "normal guy" whom the students can approach "about anything." Students will be able to find Parker in the front office of the high school or making his rounds through the hallways throughout the day.

Parker said he believes this new position “is a great opportunity to build relationships with students and their parents in a positive manner. I want to help bridge that gap between law enforcement and our students.”