Ron and Jacque Hayes recognized by school board

OKEECHOBEE — Longtime Okeechobee Community Theater (OCT) directors Ron and Jacque Hayes were recognized by the Okeechobee County School Board on July 24.

The couple officially retired in June after 40 years at the OCT. Ron was a charter member of the OCT when it was founded in 1979 and took over completely the following year. His wife, Jacque, joined him as a member of the OCT soon after she moved to Okeechobee.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Ron and Jacque Hayes were recognized by the Okeechobee County School Board after serving as Okeechobee Community Theater directors for 40 years.

Before awarding them a certificate, Okeechobee Superintendent of Schools Ken Kenworthy said the district has had a wonderful working relationship with both Ron and Jacque and those following in their footsteps would have big shoes to fill.

“We’re humbled and honored to receive this,” said Ron shortly after receiving the certificate. “Around 367 different people have been on stage throughout the years. I can’t even count the hundreds that have worked behind the scenes. Many of those people have become lifelong friends, some even family. Six couples met while working at the theater over the years. It’s been a joy.”

Many of what Ron dubbed “the next generation of the theater” were in attendance at the school board meeting to show their support.

A committee was formed at the OCT to keep things running after Ron and Jacque made the decision to retire. Kara DePasquale will now serve as the OCT’s business director, Jane Kaufman will serve as the theatre’s marketing director, while James and John Garner will take on the role of directors. Rounding out the committee are Joseph Maricinek, Laurie Garner and Mike White.

The school board also recognized Osceola Middle School Math teacher Sonya Smith for being one of three state finalists for the 2019 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

Lake Okeechobee News/Richard Marion
Osceola Middle School Math teacher Sonya Smith was recognized by the Okeechobee County School Board for being one of three state finalists for the 2019 Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

This award is the highest honor bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching. The award recognizes those teachers have both deep content knowledge of the subjects they teach and the ability to motivate and enable students to be successful in those areas.

The awards were established by Congress in 1983. Each year the president may recognize up to 108 exemplary teachers.

“We’re very proud of her for what she’s been able to do,” said Mr. Kenworthy. “We’re absolutely pleased and very fortunate to have Sonya working in our school district.”

Award recipients are typically announced by the president of the United States approximately 18 months after the state finalist selection. Recipients of the award are given a certificate signed by the president, an expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to attend a series of recognition events and professional development opportunities and a $10,000 award from the National Science Foundation.

Richard Marion is a staff writer and photographer at Lake Okeechobee News and can be reached at rmarion@newszap.com.

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.

Facebook Comment