Crockett Elementary School Receives Cutting Edge Technology
Houston County Courier - January 2008
By Sharron Randall
All 35 Crockett Elementary School classrooms will soon be equipped with ceiling-mounted multimedia projectors, which will enlarge and project digital images from computers on to a screen and enable every student in the classroom to view the still and moving pictures.
A $35,000 gift, which makes the technology plan possible, was presented to CES Principal Ann Fiolek by Tomorrow Fund Board of Director President Dr. John Garner on Thursday evening, Jan. 10.
The event took place in the new school's cafeteria and was attended by the widower, children, mother, sister, other family members, Crockett Independent School District officials and administrators, and a host of friends and colleagues of the late Sharmon Adams Ramsey.
Mrs. Ramsey of Crockett, died unexpectedly at age 41 on Dec. 18, 1993, leaving husband Dr. Perry Ramsey; son Adam Perry, age 9, who is now a graduate student at North Texas University and daughter Claire Sharmon, who had just celebrated her 7th birthday two days before the tragedy.
Claire is a junior at Texas Christian University and recently returned home from a semester of study in London, England.
According to Dr. Garner as he recited anecdotes about the honoree and the history of the memorial fund, Mrs. Ramsey was a "school teacher's dream," as she served energetically and tirelessly as a volunteer at the "old" Crockett Elementary School on Tenth Street.
She videotaped school board meetings, PTO meetings, Cub Scout meetings, Little League games, church services at Grace Street Church of Christ and many other community and family events.
Her videotapes were eventually broadcast on KIVY after Jim Gibbs began expanding to local television programming. Dr. Garner said, "She was Eliza Bishop with a video camera."
It seems that Dr. and Mrs. Ramsey had planned ahead for such an unlikely and untimely circumstance. They both agreed that if one of them passed away, certain monies would be donated and utilized by their church and their children's school.
At the time, Dr. Ramsey said, "It's not so much what happens to us it is how we react to what happens to us that determines and defines our character and faith."
Grace Street Church of Christ used the generous Ramsey gift to complete the second floor of their newly constructed education building.
Dr. Ramsey coined the name "Tomorrow Fund" and stipulated that a portion of their monetary gift be invested to be used to benefit local public education. "Perry and Sharmon strongly believed and supported involvement in the Crockett public schools," said Dr. Garner.
Tomorrow Fund, Inc. was incorporated and seven board members: President Garner, Vice President Dr. Michael Cochran, Secretary Kathy Markham Porter, Dorman Jackson Rita Morgan, Connie Pasho, and Dr. Willa Wooten have served since that time. Ray Craycraft serves as accountant.
Mrs. Ramsey was always excited about new technological advances and "loved cutting edge advances in technology," according to those who knew her. When the Tomorrow Fund board sought input from local educators, the idea of multimedia projectors was initiated. "This idea was the project we had prayerfully sought," was the consensus of opinion from the family and the board of directors.
Bids were obtained from vendors and after fruitful negotiations, a successful bid of $1,704 per classroom for the projectors, wiring, ceiling mounts and installation was accepted.
Tomorrow Fund, Inc. had sufficient funds to pay for the purchase and installation of projectors in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade classrooms as well as the ceiling mounts in the 1st and 2nd classrooms.
According to reports, Crockett ISD generously offered to purchase the remaining projectors for 1st and 2nd grades to insure that all 35 classrooms would be equipped if TFI could increase their commitment to $35,000.
By Thursday night, Ms. Fiolek had arranged for the installation of a multimedia projector in one of the classrooms so that those attending the presentation could view a demonstration of the projector's capabilities.
Besides Dr. Garner's role in the program, Connie Axelson, a 20-year veteran of CES, reflected on Mrs. Ramsey's impact from a personal viewpoint. She recalled and shared tender moments and special incidents that happened at school and at church.
Mrs. Axelson said that "Sharmon" had a way with words and a way of expressing herself that made people feel good. Remarks were made by CISD Superintendent Dr. Bill Like, Assistant Superintendent David Baxter and Ms. Fiolek, who said, "We were not blessed to know Mrs. Ramsey."
Sharron Randall, former CES principal and friend of Mrs. Ramsey, recited a poem she wrote after learning of her friend's passing. She said, "I sat at my computer trying to find the right words to pay tribute to a beautiful soul who was as lovely on the inside as she was on the outside."
"Tonight Sharmon Ramsey's light continues to shine brightly and her legacy lives on," she said, then read: "Now some people believe with firm resolve/ /I believe it to be true/ That every time a bell rings/ An angel gets her wings.
"That must have been some chiming/ That must have been some clang/ The day that she was summoned home/ Sharmon got her wings./ As a wife she had no equal/ As a mother she was superb/As a daughter, sister, or as a friend/ She was someone whom we did depend./
"Oh, you know she looks resplendent/ In her halo and her wings. / She's our very own guardian angel now/ Waiting for the bells to resound…"
Poignant remarks were made by Mrs. Ramsey's children, now young adults. Adam said emotionally, "I thought I could do this without breaking down, but apparently I was wrong!"
He said, "Education was vitally important to my mother," and "This event is somewhat bittersweet, but maybe more sweet than bitter." Adam's mother's memory continues to inspire him.
Claire also interjected some humor in the proceedings when she announced, "I'm going to cry too.
"This ceremony helps me to get to know her," she said tearfully as she recited her mother's favorite scripture: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13.
In concluding remarks by Dr. Garner, he said, "Hundreds, even thousands of students will benefit from visually reinforced educational presentations that will expand their horizons past Loop 304 and give each child the opportunity to be all that God would like them to be!"
Rick Kelley gave the invocation, Dr. Michael Cochran gave the introduction and Dr. Ramsey spoke of his late wife's devotion to her family and community as he gave the benedictory prayer.
A plaque with Mrs. Ramsey's picture will be affixed to a wall near the entrance of the new elementary complex. The donation is given in Sharmon Ramsey's memory.
Anyone interested in contributing to the Tomorrow Fund should contact any of the fund's board members or Dr. Johnny Garner.