February 5, 2014 Edition

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Lorene Taylor, a
legend in her field

John Bland
Publisher

Lorene Taylor, who died last week, was a legend in her field as home economics teacher and Future Homemakers of America sponsor at Hoxie High School. Home economics is now known as family and consumer sciences and FHA is now FCCLA or Family, Career and Community Leaders of America.

There have been a lot of changes through the years, with a focus now on careers, rather than homemaking. However, I'm sure Mrs. Taylor would be fine with the changes, and her high standards would remain unchanged.

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Mrs. Taylor apparently knew the value of good publicity, as she regularly invited members of my family and The TD staff to Hoxie FHA banquets and special events.

In the 1970s, local photographer J. Gardner Long and my father, Jim Bland Jr., were both made honorary members of the Hoxie High School FHA chapter. My dad was proud of that honor, especially since it came from Mrs. Taylor and her program, which was renowned for its excellence. I'm sure there were other individuals named honorary members as well.

One of the most notable aspects of Mrs. Taylor and her FHA members was their boundless hospitality. If you were their guest, they made you feel special.

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Renee and I were privileged to attend one or two of the Hoxie FHA Progressive Christmas dinners. These dinners generally consisted of visits to the homes of four families, each with a child in FHA. Each home served a different course, such as appetizer, soup or salad, entrŽe and dessert. I believe each home also carried out a certain theme, such as the Christmas traditions of one country or another. I specifically remember a young lady wearing a wreath with candles atop her head to commemorate St. Lucia Day in Sweden.

With precision timing, we traveled in small groups of 15 or so from house to house. The progressive dinners were not only fun, but they were a learning experience for all. Best of all, the dinners promoted a sense of community and Christmas hospitality.

As with any outstanding educator, I'm sure Mrs. Taylor positively influenced the lives of hundreds of her students, with that influence living on today in those students' homes and families.

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Mrs. Taylor is one of many examples of why I believe teaching is a high calling and a profession that can have immeasurable influence on the lives of many. I also think we have legends, such as Mrs. Taylor and Coach Bobby Watson, who passed away in December, who are in the making today. These future legends are positively influencing the lives of our children and youth today.

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