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Plans announced for Wagoner's Martin Luther King celebration

Plans announced for Wagoner's Martin Luther King celebration

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The legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. will be commemorated Jan. 15-18 as a number of celebrations are planned in the Wagoner community.

On Friday, Jan. 15, a school celebration will be held at the Performing Arts Center. If school is not in session, the program will be held virtually and shared on the Wagoner Public School Facebook page.

Organizers say the Jan. 16 fashion show and soul food cook-off have been cancelled this year. On Sunday, Jan. 17, however, the MLK Community Choir will present a concert at 6 p.m. at United Church, 700 E. Cherokee St. Masks are required of all those attending and participating.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 18), a group prayer will be offered at 10:30 a.m. at the MLK monument, 201 MLK Blvd. Participants will then line up at United Church at 10:45 a.m. for the Solidarity MLK Walk/Parade through downtown Wagoner. Parade Marshall will be Coach Joe Gordon.

Long-sleeved and short-sleeved T-shirts and MLK hoodie are available for purchase through the Wagoner Martin Luther King Page.

Immediately following will be the MLK program at the Wagoner Civic Center featuring guest speaker Jonita Ford Criddle.

Criddle is the fourth of five children born to John and Marian Ford of Wagoner. She attended school in Tullahassee where her father served as school superintendent and her mother was a business education teacher. She graduated from Carter G. Woodson High School in 1976.

She attended Northeastern State University on basketball and volleyball scholarships and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Special Education in 1980. In 1985, she earned a Master Arts Education in Counseling.

Criddle taught at Edison High School from 1980 until she retired in 2016. A special education teacher, she served as head girls basketball coach, head girls volleyball coach and assistant track coach.

Her teams were quite successful and she encouraged and assisted players in receiving scholarships to further their education.

She has won numerous coaching awards and has been inducted into the Tulsa Public Schools Athletic Hall of Fame.

Beyond retirement, Criddle continues to support her former players, offering guidance as they mature and establish their lives.

Her love for children continues to be demonstrated through her volunteer work at Brighter Futures in Wagoner. She faithfully attends First Baptist Church in Wagoner where she leads as a youth director and is a member of the choir and praise team.

Criddle and her husband, Clifford, have one son, Alex, who graduated from Purdue University and is pursuing an MBA at The University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Tex.

All area residents are invited to attend any and all upcoming celebrations honoring Dr. King.

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Christy has been covering news and sports in Wagoner County since 1988. She is a graduate of Oklahoma State University with a degree in Public Relations/Journalism. christy.wheeland@wagonercountyat.com

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