Wayland family rallying to aid of area school

Release Date: January 15, 2009    

PLAINVIEW – Tragedies like Lockney High School fire on Sunday typically bring out the best in folks willing to lend a hand.

Wayland Baptist University has been on both ends of that type of assistance, and the recent incident is no different. With one of the most immediate needs to get offices and classrooms up and running to complete the school year, the university pitched in with bags of office supplies on Thursday morning for each of the high school teachers and office workers whose desks were destroyed. Wayland employees contributed personally to fund that effort.

In addition, the university will be delivering and helping to install classroom computers, printers, projectors and other classroom technology items into the high school in the next few days in order to expedite the classes returning to full function.

While helping others in need is not rare for WBU, the Lockney incident hits a little closer to home given the ties Wayland has to the town just 15 miles away.

“We’d be doing this for any community we felt we could benefit. But we also have many employees and students from Lockney, and the Lockney I.S.D. employs many with Wayland degrees,” said Dr. Bobby Hall, executive vice president and provost at WBU who himself has lived in Lockney for nearly 15 years. “We are Lockney and Lockney is us. That’s how we look at things.”

Given his proximity, Hall said he was on the scene Sunday visiting personally with Superintendent Phil Cotham, a longtime friend. He said he made the offer then for Wayland to be a resource for the school district as they struggled to reconvene classes quickly and rebuild the school.

Right now, the school district is simply sifting through the ashes to determine what can be salvaged and what is needed in terms of supplies and infrastructure. For the long-term, Hall said Wayland has made several resources available to the district.

“We compiled a list of equipment – from computers to white boards to projectors and furniture – that we have available to lend them during the transition time,” Hall said. He added that some of the university’s Information Technology staff has also been to Lockney to discuss with Cotham and technology director Charles Keaton how Wayland might help with reconnecting the computer system for the district and providing information about wireless networking.

The university’s Mabee Learning Resources Center is another avenue of assistance, and the library staff is also investigating the extension of loaned and online resources to help Lockney faculty and students, using various local and state networks. The district already has full access to the LRC as they need it. And some Wayland student groups have already been offered for cleanup or moving projects as the district has need as well.

“What we’ve tried to do is be there on the spot to let them know we were ready, willing and able to lend a hand,” Hall added.