A surprise and honor.
That's how Vic and Linda Clouse, long-time educators within the Grove School District, describe being jointly named the 2017 Grove High School Homecoming Grand Marshals.
The couple, joined by their four grandchildren MacKenzie and Marli Clouse and Max and Mason Weaver, will be the featured guests at this year's homecoming parade which takes place at 1 p.m., on Friday, Sept. 29, in downtown Grove.
Linda taught third and fourth grade in Grove for 35 years. She stepped down from teaching due to health related issues six years ago.
Vic, who began teaching in Grove in 1972, retired after 34 years in the district in 2004 as the middle school principal. Since 2004, he has worked as a counselor within the Gravette (Arkansas) School District.
Linda said they both taught or worked with multiple generations of students, while a part of the Grove district.
"It's a weird feeling to look at a child and say, 'I had your dad' but also fun," Linda joked, adding this year's juniors and seniors were her last classes of third graders.
"It's a wonderful surprise," Linda said, of being named co-grand marshal with her husband. "I did ask, 'how did you remember me?' They responded 'Mrs. Clouse, come on.'"
Members of this year's middle school student body council even made sure Vic was personally delivered a "mid school" hat to wear in the parade.
"It's quite an honor and a privilege," Vic said. "I'm very pleased to be part of it this year."
Teaching for decades
Linda said she fell into teaching while attending the University of Oklahoma. One of her friends was taking an education class, and Linda decided to try it out.
She said the decision would turn out to be the right one, as she eventually completed her teaching degree.
A friendship with Becki Kidwell and a meeting with Jim Bradford opened the door for her to begin her career in Grove.
"That first week I met Terry Cash, and we taught together for almost 22 years," Linda said. "We had a great time."
Vic got into teaching after he studied science at Northeastern State University. He got the call to teach in Grove while at Fort Polk, and began that year the Monday after Labor Day.
He taught science at the middle school before becoming the counselor and later the assistant principal at the high school. His last 22 years were spent as the middle school principal
"It's good to see [students] grow up and see what they can do," Vic said. "[This] has been a great place to raise a family. It's a great school and community."
The couple became acquainted while Vic served as the head of the science department. He joked he "found reasons" to go to the elementary school after he met Linda, who taught science as well. They married in June 1978.
Linda said her students were "always ready" to try different things. She said the camaraderie, among teachers, is something she also cherishes.
Vic said even though he's crossed the state line to teach, he will alway be a Ridgerunner.
The couple said they are ready for the parade. Linda has even purchased matching Ridgerunner shirts for their grandchildren.
More about the Clouses
In addition to their four grandchildren, Vic and Linda have two children: Matt and his wife Anne, reside in Norman, while Melanie Weaver, and her husband, Jeff, live in Edmond.
One thing with the Clouses
One person who inspires you?
Linda - My tribe of friends: Becki, Betty, Martha, Joann and Lona, who are part of the Thursday Night Group. They keep my spirits up.
Vic - My kids and grandkids. They inspire me and make me want to do more and better things. I see how they have no fear to try something new.
One book that's stuck with you?
Linda - Maeve Binchy is my favorite author. I'm currently reading Night School by Lee Child. Usually I'm reading more than one book at a time.
Vic - I'm not a big reader, but love the Big Bang Theory (television show) because it's science based.
One thing that might surprise people?
Linda - I can keep a secret. I know I tell everything I know, but I do keep secrets.
Vic - I'm really shy. I can get in front of 560 kids and be fine, but in front of five or six adults - I've always felt more comfortable in front of kids.
One thing you can't live without?
Linda - Hot tamales and Diet Coke; and my grandkids. They keep me going. I still help with all of their treats for the holidays.
Vic - A yellow polo shirt. He wears one on the first day of school year year.
One piece of advice that's stuck with you?
Linda - Read every day. If you read, you can do everything else.
Vic - Remember who you are. Instead of telling my students (and children) to be good or careful, I just tell them to remember who you are.