Xing out negativity, on and off the field

“Throw up the X” is known worldwide thanks to Dallas Cowboys’ wide receiver and former Lufkin Panther, Dez Bryant. What some might not know is what the symbol that he flashes as a touchdown celebration even means. My husband, Joseph, played football back in the day, and I have a picture of him “throwing up the X” after a football game. Who would have thought that 25 years later that Dez Bryant would use the same symbol but (unlike my husband) uses it for a specific reason. After seeing him score more and more touchdowns and throw up the X in celebration, I finally found out what it was all about. He’s “Xing” out all of the negativity on and off the field. What a great message for the world.

Bryant, like so many others, are success stories today because of devoted community and family members as well as teachers, coaches, and staff at Lufkin ISD who influenced his life for good and helped him “X” out the negativity in his life. These individuals simply would not give up on him. We never know what influence we have on those around us, especially the little ones, and how we could be the difference to set a student’s life on the right course. The work we all do is important work, shaping and molding the futures of the likes of Dez Bryant.

I think about my own life and how there were plenty of people who discouraged me and told me that I wouldn’t succeed. I, too, had to “X” out the negative comments and strive to make my goals and dreams happen. I am so thankful for the teachers, family, and community members who told me I could succeed. I’ve since learned that you surround yourself with people who believe in you and encourage you, and that you pay it forward by believing in and encouraging others. There’s just simply not enough time in this life for all of that negativity and that seems to be what Dez is all about.

I know I am personally proud of Dez and his accomplishments on and off the field. His impressive catches are pure athletic talent (by the way, he caught that ball), but how he handles himself after a call is reversed is an indication of his character. Some times the stars aren’t aligned right and the way we want things to work out just doesn’t. That’s a big part of life and big part of growing up. All I know is that from what I hear, the stars were aligned perfectly when Dez Bryant stepped on the field at Abe Martin stadium where Panther fans were in awe and where he was supported by a community and school district who had his best interest at heart. What a privilege for this young man to be among us and grow up to show others the “Lufkin way”.

Dez, I wish you the very best in the new year and I suggest we all “X” out the negativity around us and look forward to creating a positive year!

Published by drgoffney

Dr. LaTonya Goffney was named Lufkin ISD Superintendent in 2013. A native of Coldspring, Dr. Goffney began her career as a language arts teacher in Coldspring-Oakhurst CISD. Additionally, she served as assistant principal and principal before serving as superintendent at Coldspring-Oakhurst for five years. Dr. Goffney earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and English, a Master of Education degree in administration, and a Doctorate of Education degree in Educational Leadership, all from Sam Houston State University. In her new role as Superintendent of Lufkin ISD, Dr. Goffney has focused on building community support. She has established an Education Foundation to enhance educational opportunities for all students through innovative teacher grants, a Strategic Planning group involving more than 100 community members and created a Hispanic advisory committee called the Nuestras Madres to connect with the Hispanic mothers in the district. She implemented the Panther Community Forums, which are quarterly meetings to address topics with the community and parents. Dr. Goffney began the Team Lufkin ISD Student Ambassadors, a high school student advisory group to the superintendent. Annually, she hosts Lufkin ISD Evento en Español to inform the Hispanic community of educational opportunities. Dr. Goffney was the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Administrator of the Year Award selected by the faculty of Sam Houston State University College of Education. She was named as one of only 22 members of the 2012-2013 Class of Phi Delta Kappa International Emerging Leaders. The PDK Emerging Leaders program recognizes top educators from across the world. She currently serves on the following civic boards: Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce, The Coalition, and Angelina County Economic Development. She is president-elect of the Texas Council of Women School Executives and was recently elected as recording secretary to the Texas Association of Black School Educators. Dr. Goffney also serves on the Executive Board of the Texas Association of School Administrators. Dr. Goffney is married to Joseph Goffney. They have two children, Joseph, Jr., 14, and Joslyn, 10. Dr. Goffney and her husband, Joseph, have co-authored a book titled All is Well as a tribute to their special needs son. Their story has been featured in several local magazines.

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