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SSMS to equip 8 classrooms with tablets

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Approval was given Monday night for Sulphur Springs Independent School District to move forward with the first step in phase 2 of a three phase technology plan. Trustees approved spending of up to $156,246 to obtain 240 tablet devices for Sulphur Springs Middle School.

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SSISD Special Olympics season leading up to local meet

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Sulphur Springs Independent School District Special Olympics team kicked off the 2015 season with their first meet of the season Friday.

These special athletes compete against other Special Olympians for medals at various meets hosted by schools in the region.

The SSISD Special Olympians kicked off the season competing March 6, at the Rains County Special Olympics in Emory High School gym.

They are scheduled to compete again April 16 at Commerce, and some will attend the Area Special Olympics April 24-25, at Lovejoy High School in Lucas. The latter is a two-day competition in which students will stay with school sponsors in a hotel overnight.

And, SSISD will also be hosting a track and field Special Olympics Meet May 12 at Sulphur Springs High School track, coordinated by SSISD staff Jeana Penny. The event generally features up to 120 athletes from around the region, including Sulphur Springs.

Students generally receive shirts and a goody bag, along with lunch, thanks to donations from generous community sponsors at the SSISD meet. The Key Club also helps host this event. Students, parents and community members are invited to attend the event to cheer the students on.

Hannah Kirby again advances, this time on Pharrell’s team

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More than 11 million viewers turned on “The Voice” last night and saw Sulphur Springs singer Hannah Kirby during the national singing competition. Tuesday evening marked the battle round where Kirby advanced despite almost being eliminated from the cutthroat competition. 

Hannah was first shown on television Monday evening during the blind audition portion of the competition. Contestants had the chance to be chosen by teams led by country music singer Blake Shelton, entertainment producer/singer Pharrell Williams, or pop musicians Adam Levine  and Christina Aguilera. 

In Monday’s televised episode, Hannah was chosen to be a part of Blake Shelton's team moments before her performance was complete.

“Throughout the entire song I knew no one was turning around for me and I was so surprised. I was nervous but kept doing my thing. When Blake finally hit his button and turned around, I felt so calm in that moment, despite having so many emotions going through me. It was absolutely amazing,” said Kirby.

Moving forward, Kirby had to duel teammate Sarah Potenza with the song “Gimme Shelter” in Tuesday night’s televised part of the battle rounds competition. After rehearsing the song together under the guidance of Shelton and advisor Meghan Trainor, Kirby was predicted to be the underdog in the battle. 

Once the competition between Kirby and Potenza began, the surprise of the judges in Kirby’s singing abilities could be seen repeatably in their facial expressions. After the dynamic performance, all four judges had a hard time giving their vote to either singer.

“What I didn’t know is that Hannah was going to come out here and blow it out of the water,” said Aguilera. “There was passion and the crazy fireworks exuded from both of you [Kirby and Potenza]. I have to applaud you.”

Levine gave similar praise to Kirby during his critique of the battle. 

“Hello, Hannah. Wow, Sarah is tough. Shame on us [the coaches] because we were expecting a murder, but I’m telling you right now, the shear shock was this was completely even and I have to give this one to you,” said Levine.   

Because it’s Shelton’s team, his vote is the only one that counts. He had to choose which of his teammates would go forward on his team. Shelton did not choose the underdog in the battle. 

“You guys both did great. ... Winner of this battle is Sarah,” said Shelton. 

With Shelton’s decision, Kirby was faced either with elimination or she could be stolen by another coach to add their team. Host Carson Daly asked the remaining coaches if anyone wanted to draft Kirby onto their team. Levine and Williams both slammed their buzzers. After some deliberation Kirby chose Williams to be her new coach. 

With Kirby hanging in there for another week, she will have stiff competition in the coming knock out round. Each coach will pit contestants against one another. In this round, coaches from other teams will not be able to take contestants after they have been eliminated. Winners of the knock out round go on to the live competition with the public voting.

“The Voice” is on NBC on Mondays and Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m.

The performances can be downloaded at iTunes.com/TheVoice.

Lawson to stay as Travis principal; others retiring, resigning

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Sulphur Springs Independent School District Board of Trustees Monday night approved more than a dozen staff recommendations, including officially hiring a new principal for Travis, three resignations, and accepting early notification of retirement or resignation by nearly a dozen staff — including several long time staff members.

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Inmate found face down in jail in hospital in critical condition

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A 34-year-old Sulphur Springs man was transported from the county jail Friday afternoon to the hospital after he was found face down on the ground shortly after being placed in a “violence” cell, where he’d been placed shortly before for combative behavior. He remained in a Tyler hospital Saturday morning, according to police.

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