Marion School District Newsletter

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Quote of the Month

Change is the end result of all true learning. – Leo Buscaglia

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The principal, Paul Johnston of Marion High School announced today that Reid Bunn has been named a Commended Student in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. A Letter of Commendation from the school and National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program, will be presented by the principal to this scholastically talented senior.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2020 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

''Those being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success," commented a spokesperson for NMSC. "These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic success."

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Choir Concert at MPAC: Singing in Sync

Story by Nicholas Mayeux, Photos by Arianna Mason

The seventh, eighth and ninth-grade choirs, along with the High School Ensemble and the High School Singers performed in their first concert on October 3 at the Marion Performing Arts Center. The pieces tested the singer's abilities, but was enough of a challenge for them to have fun.

The program was designed to push the singers' limits with difficult songs like “Kyrie Eleison,” a song written in Latin, and unorthodox songs like “The Disney Princess Medley.” The challenging song selection let the students display their vocal range and talent.

This concert would not have been possible without the choir directors Doug Conwill and Christopher Orr. The pair worked tirelessly to teach each individual how to sing correctly, then how to sing as a choir.

“I teach voice before choir, trying to improve each individual singer,” Conwill said, “other than that, I try to teach integrity and a strong work ethic.”

Every singer performed well, but a select few also gave impressive solos. Soloists for the night included Jordan Smith, Makhia Trotter, Abby Ferguson, Sophia Rodriguez, Tatum Brown, Aniyah Smith, Laylah Gasca and Tyla Smith. Some solos were so inspiring that they received standing ovations.

“The biggest challenge I had to overcome was learning to trust myself and my voice,” soloist Sophia Rodriguez said, “to believe that I can do a good job and have a good outcome, learning to believe in myself.”

For those wanting more live entertainment, the trio Gentri will be performing at the MPAC on October 24. Tickets cost 15 dollars and are available at the central office or by calling Conwill at 739-5130.

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MHS Homecoming Queen gives moving speech to MSD crowd

Somewhere over the rainbow, Marion students, family and alumni are all ready for homecoming tonight. Hear what the 2019 Homecoming Queen, Payton Holmes, had to say to her peers in the video below.

There's no place like home.

Marion Homecoming 2019
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MHS Art Students Paint Murals

MHS ART students painted a mural for the Crawfordsville Hometown Festival coming October 12th. Students have been working hard to create a welcoming fall scene for the festivities.
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Despite every single setback thrown our way, Patriot Nation and Arkansas still tuned in!! Thank you to everyone who watched The Fred Leonard State Farm Hometown Showdown on MPAN! Go Team Patriots!

The Patriots Showcased a thriller rivalry battle against West Memphis Friday, and as a result became Mascot Media's Most Watched Broadcast school of Week 5! Congratulations to
Marion Patriots Athletics Network!
Watch them LIVE at
💻 OR 📱

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Marion Players and Administrators Tour St. Jude by Tyler Bennett

The Marion vs West Memphis rivalry is more than just a game. Through the work of a group of people that believe in the community, the event that Crittenden County residents love to hate has become a beacon of hope that fans on both sides can take pride in.

The Fred Leonard State Farm Hometown Showdown began as a fun tailgate for fans on both sides to commune before returning to their side of the bleachers. However, through the work of men like Grandon Gray and Fred Leonard, the game has become a chance for the two sides to lay down their weapons and come together to support one of the most renowned hospitals in the world.

Players and administrators from both sides toured St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Tuesday morning, where they saw first-hand where the funds raised between the two towns will be heading.

The fundraising efforts are split between a Team Patriot, Team Blue Devil, Team ASU-Mid South and Team Fred Leonard State Farm. Each team was tasked with a goal of 2,500 dollars for a total of 10 thousand dollars, but both Team Patriot and Blue Devil have each passed the four thousand dollar mark.

McKenzie West, a West Memphis student who is a current patient at St. Jude, shared her story with the two teams after the tour and thanked them for the help and awareness they have raised. Marion coach Keith Houston described her speech as breath-taking and a reminder of what true adversity looks like.

Both sides have had their own unique ways to raise funds for their teams. For example, Team Patriot has created a number of different ways for people to help their cause.

Some of their efforts have included shout-outs during live streams and home games, cheerleaders running the bleachers with donation buckets after football team scores, a duck call raffle and passes for teachers to wear jeans at work after donations.

The Marion Patriots Athletics Network has helped by having guests involved with the event on their weekly coaches show, The Patcast. Guests have included James Stafford and Justin Boddie from St. Jude, local business representatives who are sponsoring the tailgate and Fred Leonard, the event’s title sponsor.

During their visit to MHS cyber studios, Stafford talked about how unique the Hometown Showdown truly is compared to other fundraising events the hospital has seen.

“To me, it shows compassion for the mission,” Stafford said. “For us across the bridge to bring awareness to these two schools and have the two communities put aside their differences at the game, to me, that’s inspirational.”

The chance to rally behind a cause like St. Jude has been an experience that both sides can be proud of. Friday night, the opening kickoff will turn the gridiron into a battlefield, but hopefully the work of the Hometown Showdown offers enough goodwill to carry on after the clock hits zero.

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The Marion Patriots (2-4 overall)(1-2 6A East) had their chances against the undefeated Searcy Lions (6-0)(3-0), but the Pats made too many mistakes to come away with a homecoming win. Dropped passes, turnovers and penalties have been a constant problem for a Patriots team that should be a lot better than their record indicates. “The team that makes the least amount of mistakes wins,” Marion coach Keith Houston said. “We had some silly penalties tonight. For all of the mistakes we made tonight, we only lost by seven points to a good Searcy team. Just imagine what we could do if we limit all the mental errors.” Searcy came into the game with one of the most potent offenses in the 6A, averaging 46 points per game and scoring 54 points against West Memphis the week before. Marion’s defense held the Lions to their lowest point total of the season in the 28-21 loss. The first points of the game came from the Patriot defense on a heads-up play by junior defensive end Jaqualyn Daniel. Daniel batted a Lion pass attempt at the line of scrimmage to himself and took it to the endzone for a 54-yard pick-six. However, Searcy’s offense did not seem deterred by the setback. The Lions went on a 28-0 run, giving them a three-touchdown lead early in the third quarter. Marion senior running back Anthony Price found the endzone from six yards out before the end of the third quarter. Despite a rough three quarters, the Pats only trailed by two scores heading into the fourth quarter. The Pats had a couple of good drives while their defense kept the Lions at bay, but each drive stalled because of dropped and incomplete passes. Marion quarterback Daedrick Cail finally connected with senior wide receiver Mari Cage for a nine-yard score with around a minute left in the game. Searcy recovered the following onside kick and got a first down to seal their sixth win of the season. Cail completed 16 of his 30 passing attempts for 211 yards and a touchdown, but also threw two interceptions. Searcy quarterback Bryce Dixon completed 18 of his 27 passes for 261 yards and a touchdown. Price carried the ball 20 times for 115 yards for an average of almost six yards per carry. The Lions rushed for three touchdowns and a combined 163 yards on the ground. Up next for the Pats is a trip to Baxter County as they will attempt to spoil homecoming night for the Mountain Home Bombers (0-6)(0-3). Marion has won the last ten games against the Bombers. Kickoff from Mountain Home on Friday, October 18 is scheduled for 7:00 pm. A live stream of the game will be available at or the Marion Patriots Athletics app. KWYN 92.5FM will also cover the game.
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The Marion Patriots (2-3 overall)(1-1 6A East) outlasted the Sylvan Hills Bears (1-4)(0-2) on Friday for their first conference win. The Pats and Bears traded scoring runs to bookend the game, but a last second stand gave Marion the win. Marion eclipsed 300 yards of total offense, 265 of which came through the air after only 69 passing yards a week ago. Junior quarterback Daedrick Cail completed 16 of his 28 passing attempts with two touchdowns, but he did throw three interceptions. Despite the limited running game, senior Anthony Price still had a productive night. The veteran back carried the ball eleven times for 52 yards and a touchdown against an aggressive Sylvan Hills defensive line. “We needed our offensive line to be consistent tonight and I thought they were for the most part,” Marion coach Keith Houston said. “We need consistency all around the field, but those guys are the backbone of the offense. When we gave AP (Price) holes, he was able to make some plays.” Marion started the first scoring run of the night with a 32-yard field goal from sophomore Dylan Pieri. Mari Cage made the Bears pay after they failed to convert on fourth-and-one from their own 29-yard line. Cail found Cage from 24-yards out to give Marion a 10-0 lead. The Bears found their stride in the second quarter, answering with a field goal and two touchdowns before the end of the half. Sylvan Hills players and fans enjoyed a 17-10 halftime lead to go along with the homecoming ceremonies. Sylvan Hills kicker Matthew Riley would extend the Bears’ lead after the break on their first drive to push their lead to ten points. The Pats would answer with a 5-yard touchdown pass before the end of the quarter to Thomas Dorin and trailed the Bears 20-17 at the start of the fourth. Marion’s defense held the Bears off the board for the remainder of the game, in textbook bend-don’t-break fashion. Sylvan Hills drove deep into Marion territory twice in the fourth quarter, but the Patriot defense managed to come up with stops on fourth-and-short situations. After Price gave the Pats the lead with his touchdown run in the fourth, the second fourth quarter turnover-on-downs won the game for the Pats. Sylvan Hills had the ball at the Marion five-yard line with four seconds left, trailing 24-20. The Bears ran the majority of their plays out of the I-formation, using a shotgun formation occasionally to run jet sweeps to their quick receivers. Sylvan Hills faked a sweep on the final play, but handed it off to their running back. The Patriot defense sniffed the fake out, tackling the back for a short gain and giving Marion their first conference win. “Once our defense figures out what their supposed to do, they can make all the big plays,” Houston said. “We had to make some adjustments at the half to counter what they were doing. They started making tackles and big plays for us.” Homecoming week is up next for the Patriots as they host the talented Searcy Lions (5-0)(2-0). The Lions won last year’s meeting 37-23 and have conference wins this season over Jacksonville and West Memphis. Next week’s game is the first for Marion at Patriot Stadium since they hosted Wynne on September 6. Kickoff from Patriot Stadium on Friday, October 11 is scheduled for 7:00 pm. Fans are encouraged to arrive around 6:30 pm to enjoy all of the Homecoming festivities.
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Share The Good Stuff

If there are good things happening in your classroom or building, we want to hear about it. Here are a few examples:
  • Exciting field trips
  • Guest speakers
  • Interactive lesson plans
  • Students or staff with remarkable personal stories
  • Favorable academic data
  • College signings, academic scholarships
  • Planned professional development

Send your good stuff with pictures and/or video to Jonnett Gammill at or Tyler Bennett at


Marion School District Newsletter will be disseminated monthly. If you would like your news included in the next edition, please shoot an email to with "newsletter" in the subject line. When submitting news, keep in mind the 5 W's: who, what, why, when, and where. Attach photos and video with your copy.

The deadline to submit information is the 21st of each month.

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