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Henson tabbed citizen of the year

By submitted, 12/20/21 9:31 AM

PRESCOTT – Saturday was awards day at the Curry Community Outreach Center.

Each year Ivory Curry presents awards to those who have been active in the community. The ceremony is held the Saturday before Christmas and is followed by a community meal along with giving gifts to children.

Here are the winners of this year’s awards: the lifetime award went to Hyacinth and Harding Deon; Reed and Becky Koger were presented the small business award; Dana Smallwood was named rising star; community servant award went to willy Craven and Charlotte Murphy; and the citizen of the year was presented to Frank Henson.

Each of the recipients were asked to provide a biography of themselves.

HYACINTH DEON

Mrs. Hyacinth Deon is a graduate of Harrison Memorial High School, Montego Bay, Jamaica.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Mathematics from Bishop College, Dallas, Texas, her Master’s in Education from Texas A&M University, Texarkana, and her Superintendent’s credentials from Arkansas State University, Jonesboro.

Her career path included work in pulmonary and diabetes research for Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, science and mathematics teacher in Texarkana, TX ISD,   Texarkana Arkansas School District, and Oak Grove School District.  She served as High School Principal at Oak Grove and Elementary School Curriculum Supervisor in the Texarkana Arkansas School District.

Mrs. Deon joined the Prescott School District staff in 1993 as Director of Curriculum and Instruction.  In that capacity she served as School Improvement Coordinator,  Equity Coordinator and the District’s Grant-writer for integration of Educational Technology.  She was instrumental in ensuring that every child had access to the emerging technology in every classroom. Improved Internet connectivity and supplementary learning labs and Piano labs were added to the elementary and middle schools.  The piano labs ensure every child in the district was exposed to formal music education which research correlates to the learning of mathematics.  The EAST Initiative ( Environmental And Spatial Technology) project-based learning lab, and two Distance Learning labs were added to expand the high school curriculum offerings in Mathematics, Foreign Languages and any subject that could not be offered at the school could be accessed by Distance Learning.   She led the collaborative development of a non-punitive high school Alternative Learning Environment that met the individualized needs of students who were struggling academically due to circumstances beyond their control This alternative learning environment created a personalized learning model and an atmosphere that dramatically improved each student’s chances of high school graduation and workplace readiness. The late  Mrs. Wanda Fincher, Teri Vandiver and Altha R. Palmer served as the adult facilitators. The Prescott School District was recognized by the Governor and State Board of Education for the high quality and success of this learning environment.

Mrs. Deon was appointed Interim Superintendent in Spring 2002 and was named Superintendent in September 2002.   During her administrative career, she also served at the regional and state level on various education boards, associations, and committees.

After a Career of Commitment to Educational Excellence for Every Child, she retired from 34 years of advocacy and service to children.  Believing in the power of a good education, she inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.

A guiding question throughout her career was,  “Is this good enough for Rhoda, Andrew and Laura?”   If the answer was “no” then to her,  it was not good enough for any child.  She embraced the proverb, “Wisdom is the principal thing”, and prayed daily that she would always be courageous enough to Do Right, which is the intended the sum of all school policies.

She is a member of Munns Chapel Baptist Church, Kiwanis International and Prescott Kiwanis Club,  Nevada County Retired Teachers Association, and Friends of the Nevada County Public Library.  She supports all worthy local endeavors including the Prescott Food Share, Hamilton Haven House, Curry’s Outreach Ministries, The Prescott Ministerial Alliance and the Chamber of Commerce.

She is proud to have call Prescott, Arkansas home since 1977. She married her, college sweetheart,

Harding T. Deon, Jr. on May 13, 1972. They have three children, Rhoda Marie, Eldridge Andrew and Laura Louise.

HARDING DEON

Harding Thoreau Deon, Jr. – Born November 30, 1942, Prescott, Arkansas.  Started first grade  in Fresno, California – Grew up in Berkeley, California. Graduated:  Berkeley High School, Class of 1961.  Honorable Discharge, US Navy 1967 – A graduate of Bishop College, Dallas, TX – Class of 1970 – Master of Fine Arts, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX – Class of 1971 – Master of Administrative Education, Texas A&M University, Commerce, TX. – Class of 1993.

In January 1968, just out of the Navy, discharge at the height of the Civil Rights movement, with riots, demonstrations, protests, social unrest and the influence of Malcom X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Huey Newton, and the Black Panthers all helped him decide to leave the Oakland, Berkeley Bay area  He decided that  whatever contributions he was going to make in society, it would be made, back home in the south.  Our home of 43 years is located across the road from his grandfather’s 80 acres in Nevada County, Prescott, Arkansas.

He is retired Professional Art Educator K-12 and Assistant Principal, completing a 34 year career in public education.  He was in the classroom for 22 years in the state Texas.  He has taught all grade levels and he said, “I did not experience one unpleasant day!”  He retired from the Hope Public School District where he served as an Assistant High School Principal for 12 years.

His philosophy as a Visual Arts Educator was to create a learning environment programmed for success for the gifted student as well as the learning-disabled.  His curriculum for each project was written so that all instruction and related assignments would promote the transfer of learning by demonstrating how English, Math, Science, History, and all subjects relate to the Fine Arts.

He always encouraged the Special Ed teachers, the Self-Contained teachers, and the counselors to give all the students the opportunity to have at least one year of Art.  The students with special needs, the gifted and talented and  the regular students learn together in an environment of mutual respect and dignity.  He considers their social development and people skills to be as important and as valuable as the Fine Arts Curriculum.

If a True or False Test was given, all statements were TRUE!  He never told the students.   If a multiple-choice test was given all the responses were correct.  Of course, you must know, the most complete answer to receive full credit.  However, his rationale was based on teaching and learning facts not falsehoods and not misinformation.

He has been happily married to Mrs. Hyacinth Elaine 49 years.  They have been team teachers for the Munns Chapel Senior Sunday school class for more than 30 years.  He is a Deacon and serve the elderly, the Mother’s Board, Widows and Widowers.  He is an avid supporter of the Prescott Food Share, Hamilton Haven, Curry Outreach Ministries, Prescott Ministerial Alliance, and the Prescott Kiwanis Club.

Harding and Hyacinth have three beautiful children: Rhoda Marie Deon, PhD Educational Mathematics, Eldridge Andrew J. Deon, AA, Employment Consultant/Entrepreneur  and Laura Louise Deon, MD Pediatric Physical Medicine.