By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton Independent School District conducted a dedication and ribbon cutting for the Mitchell-Overturff Center for Industrial Trades Thursday evening (June 10) at its location on Division St.
Don Mitchell and his family along with the family of the late Sherrell Overturff were also in attendance to conduct the ceremony.
Mitchell graduated in 1961 from Texas Tech and taught in Slaton for 31 years, retiring in 1993. During that time, students won multiple shows at local and State level, including grand and reserve champion at seven major shows and grand champion barrow at El Paso for three consecutive years.
He was honored to speak about the building named in his honor. “This is fabulous, it really is. This building, these people, everything we’ve got, that’s just a wow for me, I’m amazed by it all,” he said, adding when he first came to SISD, there was just one anvil and one welder.
“I think this is really the right route to go over if you go look at jobs down the road. Here it is – people will be available to fill these places,” he added. “And it’s because of this I like the concept that you’re thinking about the students too.”
Overturff was a devotional trades teacher for 33 years, providing technical and vocation skills instruction that introduced students to the world of work. He also taught them life skills such as banking, income tax, building trades, plumbing and general home maintenance. They’d raise money for the annual banquet and had special project such as keeping Principal Kurtz’s classic car Tiger red for parades and other events, and worked with businesses to have funding funneled to students to get students into jobs with local tradesmen for experience.
Overtuff’s son, Casey, spoke on the family’s behalf, who also thanked everyone for the honor. “I believe these two men fulfilled three major roles for all our students here at Slaton ISD. We need somebody to loop up to, need somebody to chase and we need somebody to look forward to and I believe they did all those roles extremely well,” he said. “Thank you for this distinguished honor, and it’s very well appreciated.”
For more information, please read the Thursday edition of The Slatonite.