• From left, Breckenridge High School students Diana Patterson, Mackenzie Harris, Elyssa Glick and Braxton Post pose for a photo after placing historical markers and planting tress along the walking trail of Miller Park in Breckenrige as part of a project through TMCN.

Breckenridge students take prize for Miller Park additions

Four Breckenridge High School students placed first at the Texas Midwest Community Network’s annual conference at the Abilene Convention Center last Wednesday.

Students Diana Patterson, Elyssa Glick, Mackenzie Harris and Braxton Post composed the team competing against other Midwest schools in the Leadership TMCN program.

According to a press release from TMCN, the network is a regional organization for community and economic development, regional promotion, education and legislative awareness. The group sponsors networking events during the year, and projects to market the region for business and tourism development. Its mission is providing a means in which communities can work together to accomplish what one community cannot do alone.

“Leadership TMCN was created to help inspire high school youth and community leaders to make a commitment towards excellence in their own community,” TMCN Executive Director Kathy Keane stated in a press release.

The team participated in the nine-month program, which included learning tools to “sell the dream” and move a community forward, implementing changes to a community by developing a mentorship to motivate and inspire action, and developing and/or completing a community-focused project. 

The students’ community project, ‘Think Outside – No Box Required’, included four phases at Breckenridge’s Miller Park: general cleanup and new flowerbeds; restriping of the basketball courts and new operational signage; historical way-finding signage; and, new park lighting.

“The lesson learned was to keep pushing through when the odds are against you,” Patterson said.

Each student participates in extra-curricular organizations across the campus, from band and athletics, to theater and FFA. Patterson said it was difficult to coordinate their activities individually, but more so as a team.

Funding seemed out of reach for the students as they began presenting the project to the Breckenridge City Commission, Stephens County Commissioners Court, Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation and other local organizations.

“It was pretty challenging being high school students trying to take on things like electrical work, and a project that almost seems entirely too big for high school students, so to convince our community to buy into that was a challenge,” Patterson said.

Mentors Lisa Echols and Brian Valenzuela assisted the team in completing each phase by gaining sponsorship and preparing for presentation.

Community sponsors include: Shortes Cattle Company, Wimberley Legal Services, Tom and Lisa Echols, Breckenridge Economic Development Corporation, MLR Graphics, Russel Brothers, Mr. and Mrs. Paul Prater, Walmart, First National Bank and J&J Electric.

“My favorite part of this project was giving back to the community that has done so much to help us accomplish this. They never even second-guessed it, they were just willing to help us get it done because of the fact that we are doing something so great,” Patterson said.

The team placed first against six different schools, walking away with a $2,000 Leadership TMCN Scholarship Award. Dublin High School placed second, receiving a $1,500 scholarship, while Early High School placed third, receiving a $1,250 scholarship.

TMCN Member cities include: Abilene, Albany, Anson, Aspermont, Baird, Ballinger, Brady, Breckenridge, Bronte, Brownwood, Buffalo Gap, Cisco, Clyde, Coleman, Colorado City, Comanche, Cross Plains, De Leon, Dublin, Early, Eastland, Eden, Goldthwaite, Gorman, Hamilton, Hamlin, Haskell, Hico, Jacksboro, Jayton, Knox City, Menard, Merkel, Miles, Munday, Ranger, Rising Star, Robert Lee, Rising Star, Roscoe, Rotan, San Angelo, San Saba, Santa Anna, Seymour, Snyder, Stamford, Strawn, Sweetwater, Throckmorton, Tye and Winters.

The Breckenridge American


114 East Elm Street

PO Box 871

Breckenridge, Texas 76424

Phone: (254) 559-5412
Fax: (254) 559-3491