THUMBS UP to Kiowa High School for winning the Class A Slow-Pitch Softball championship.

Kiowa defeated Varnum, 31-7 in the finals. The Cowgirls also won the Class B fast-pitch championship in October.

The Cowgirls are projected to have every player from these championship squads return in the 2019-20 school year.

Many teams begin the year working to win a state championship. Only one in each class can achieve that goal.

Extracurricular activities such as sports have an important place in the education system.

The Kiowa Cowgirls learned many valuable lessons by participating in softball. They learned what it means to work as a team to achieve goals. They learned how hard work can lead to success.

Those lessons will help them in the workplace and in life.

We applaud every student-athlete who played for their school this year.

We especially congratulate the Kiowa High School slow-pitch softball team for winning the Class A championship.

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THUMBS UP to the many volunteers who’s hard work will help make this year’s Italian Festival a success.

Volunteers are needed each year to ensure food preparations are complete as the festival arrives.

Volunteers are busy preparing 540 loaves of Italian bread, 100 gallons of sauce to pour over a couple of hundred pounds of spaghetti, 750 pounds of meatballs and 650 pounds of sausage, organizers said.

The festival has new days — moving from the traditional Saturday-Sunday affair to Friday-Saturday.

The festival is a highlight of the tourism year for McAlester. It is well-known throughout the state and attracts many visitors to our community. It is an opportunity for the community to put McAlester on display.

We applaud all those volunteers who organized, prepared, and will execute the event in the fine fashion of previous festivals.

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THUMBS UP to Shattered Dreams program, which came to McAlester High School this week.

The program highlights the dangers of texting and driving. The program simulates the aftermath of a fatal collision caused by a distracted driver.

The program does not use actors to play the roles of those involved in the fatal wreck. They use students in each school. That brings an air of reality to the event and forces students to confront the reality of the death of a friend.

Distracted driving is dangerous — not just to you, but to all those on the road while you are driving.

We are an instant gratification society. We feel compelled to be within reach of each other at any given moment.

No text message is worth risking your life. Please leave the phone alone