By Robin Scott
Peter and his wife, Denise, have been married for 19 years and have lived with their four children in the Dalhart area for the past 14 years. Peter is originally from Nebraska and Denise is originally from California. Their children include 14-year-old Jonathan, 13-year-old Lea, 10-year-old Josef and 9-year-old Caleb. Peter has been an employee of Premium Standard Farms for the past 16 years.
Peter’s strong desire to become a member of the Dalhart Independent School Board comes from a firm belief that the family is the fundamental unit of society. He stated, “Education of children is one of the primary responsibilities of the family. My wife, Denise, and I have a great responsibility within our own family to educate our children, and we have received great support and help from the Dalhart community.”
Peter and Denise have a sense of responsibility to contribute to the community effort to help and support area families in their responsibility to educate their children. Peter commented, “Becoming a trustee on the school board is another way that I can help and support this community effort.”
Peter is a scout leader for Boy Scout Troop 10 in Dalhart. He and his family are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, where Peter is also a leader. He stated, “As one of the leaders for the Boy Scouts in Dalhart and for the church, I have had opportunities to work with and interact with the youth and families in Dalhart.” Denise is a HOSTS volunteer and a PTA and PTO board member and has been for several years. Of his wife’s efforts, Peter stated, “This interaction has reaffirmed to me that we have a great school system worth working for and supporting.”
Peter noted that he has seen the effects of a good education in his own children’s lives and knows that it will affect their quality of life in the future. Lea Baumert was recently honored as a regional spelling bee winner held in Canyon in March. Lea has been a regional winner for the last two years and plans to compete again this coming year.
Education holds a position of great importance for Peter, Denise and their children. Peter stated, “I am capable and willing to serve. I have a vested interest in the success of DISD. I have felt the satisfaction of serving in the community, and it feels great.” He also stated, “Education is all about the parents. If they aren’t willing to be engaged, then it’s going to fail. That’s how important it is.” Peter’s convictions and dedication to his family and his children’s education are qualities that should benefit the entire community.
Jerry Sue Smith
By Robin Scott
Jerry Sue Smith is a long time resident of Dalhart, having moved here with her husband in 1971. She was born in Missouri and grew up in Oklahoma. Most people probably know Mrs. Smith, and her late husband, Coach Earl Smith. Both taught in Dalhart. Mrs. Smith retired in 2002 after 31 years of teaching. Coach Smith taught for 33 years before passing away.
Mrs. Smith received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern State in Oklahoma. She went on to receive her Master’s Degree in Education from Panhandle State University near Guymon, Oklahoma. She and her husband both took classes toward their Master’s at the same time, moving up to Oklahoma during the summers and attending class. Their oldest con, Chris Smith, was born in Oklahoma, and their youngest son, Jeff, was born in Dalhart.
The Smith boys carried on in their parents’ footsteps, both becoming educators. Chris is a Junior High school teacher in Bushland and lives with his family in Amarillo. Jeff is a High School Teacher. Their wives are also educators.
That well-established connection to education is what has prompted Mrs. Smith to run for the DISD school board. She stated, “I’ve always been involved with education and I don’t want to get too far from it. After I retired I substitute taught at the junior high for several years.”
Coach Smith had been in the military and was able to attend school on the G.I. Bill. The money was enough to allow the family to travel to Oklahoma for him to attend school and for Mrs. Smith to attend school as well. At that time the couple had their oldest son and Mrs. Smith stated, “I don’t think I could have done that today, but we did it and we had fun. We’d go to class and come home and study.” The Smiths made the summer trip for three summers, then finished their Master’s Degrees at the same time.
Most of Mrs. Smith’s teaching years were spent with the fourth grade. She also taught the fifth grade for about five years right before she retired. One of the things Mrs. Smith enjoys about having taught for so long for Dalhart schools is seeing the children become adults, but states, “They’ll always be kids to me!” She marvels at the fact that they look older. She has seen them enter many different professions.
In her retirement, Mrs. Smith works part time for Furniture Fashions. Part of her decision to go back to work was due to missing her husband after his passing. She enjoys seeing her grandkids in Amarillo and babysitting for her kids when they need her. These past few weeks she has been teaching a class in crocheting for Community Connect. She commented, “I had fun doing it, and I enjoyed it. I’ll probably do it again.” She also enjoys gardening and is trying to get some planting done, but the weather has been a bit unpredictable.