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December 10, 2002

Congratulations to a couple of Perry folks who have earned some distinction in entirely unrelated fields. First of all, hats off to Peggy Haxton, the teacher at Rose Hill School on the grounds of the Cherokee Strip Museum on West Fir Avenue. She is one of three Oklahomans honored by the Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, PA. Peggy is being recognized for her role as the teacher of thousands of students in the old one-room school house that is a focal point of interest at our museum. For many years it served students in grades one through eight in a rural school district near Perry. Now completely restored, it was moved several years ago to the museum grounds. Students from all over Oklahoma come to Perry each day during the school year to experience the life of an early day boy or girl when this area was being settled in the early days of the 20th century.

Freedoms Foundation recognizes the exceptional efforts of people who promote the benefits of a free society. Since its inception in 1949, the program has honored more than 50,000 Americans. The Rose Hill School program is operated through the Oklahoma Historical Society and the Cherokee Strip Museum. Students spend a day touring the museum and then cross the "bridge of time" to attend classes in the old-fashioned school house. There they learn what it was like to attend classes in 1910. Also receiving the Freedoms Foundation awards this year are Ross Harlan and Gary Lower of Oklahoma City. Kansas student Amanda Rush also will be honored at the dinner. Harlan is a World War II veteran who retired from the Air Force as a lieutenant colonel. He is a retired senior vice president of Oklahoma Gas & Electric. Lower is a former football and track coach who recently retired as international vice president of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

In addition to Peggy's award, Wade DeJager, a senior at Perry High School, qualifies for accolades because he recently made a perfect composite score of 36 on the American College Test (ACT), and thereby became one of only a handful to reach that level of academic achievement. Results of the 2002 national and state ACT scores show that only 134 students out of 1,116,082 rang up the perfect score. Wade's score was in the 2003 program. His parents are Bill and Cheryl DeJager and his maternal grandmother is Dorothy Bowers, who used to be a news writer for this newspaper. All of them are entitled to be proud of Wade's high ranking.

Here's some unrelated information gleaned from the advertising matter in an issue of the Perry Daily Journal published in the 1930s, during the Great Depression. According to that day's paper, grocery shoppers at Charlie Huffman's Grocery could buy the following for just a nickel each: Wheat flakes, 2 lbs. Cabbage, bottle of grape juice, Faultless Starch and a can of tomatoes. H.R. Walker's special included a gallon of Golden syrup, 49 cents; 2-lb. Can of Clabber Girl baking Powder for 21 cents, pork roast at 9 cents a pound and hamburger or sausage, 3 lbs. For 25 cents. Remember, this was during very bad economic times. Who wants to go back to that period?