Carthage ISD is recognizing three distinguished alumni at their Homecoming celebrations this weekend. They will recognize John Jones, Patrinell Wright and John Ray.

John Lee Jones, Carthage High School Class of 1971

John Jones graduated from Texas A&M with a Construction Science degree in 1974. He grew up working and expanding his family’s business Cassity Jones Lumber and Building Materials, which became part of Jones Legacy Ventures, where John served as CEO until 2020 when he transitioned into Chairman of the Board. Among some of his community service, John has been chairman of the YMCA campaign, commissioner of Henderson’s Boys Baseball Assoc., an elected director of Rusk County Electric Coop and an active member of his church. After volunteering at the Spirit of St. Louis Therapy Center in Tyler, he saw a need, developed, and became Chairman of the Board of the nonprofit Starbrite Therapeutic Equestrian Center, which provides equine assisted activities and therapies for the physical and mental needs of challenged children, adults, and veterans.

The Carthage Independent School District Education Foundation Alumni Association President Gina Sue Rogers Bradley recently announced the 2021 inductees for the CISD Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. They include Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright — Class of 1961, Dr. John Copeland Ray — Class of 1966, and John Lee Jones — Class of 1971.

These honorees and their families will enjoy a day of festivities on Homecoming Friday, October 15, 2021. They will speak to the Carthage High School students at an assembly before the pep rally, and then they will be honored with a reception at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. At the football game afterwards, they will be recognized and honored with a key to the city on the football field during Carthage Homecoming ceremonies at Bulldog Stadium. Everyone is invited to attend the reception, ballgame, and Homecoming activities.

After graduating from Carthage High School in 1971, John Jones attended A&M University. While there, John served as a cadet in the Aggie Corp and married the love of his life Lisa Rice. Also, while an Aggie student, John began building and selling custom homes. He graduated in 1974 with a degree in construction science, then moved to Tyler, where he continued his building and development activities while working with the family business Cassity Jones Lumber and Building Materials, for whom he has been working since he was 13 years of age. Cassity Jones Lumber has grown and prospered over the years and transitioned into Jones Legacy Ventures, which is now parent company of Cassity Jones Lumber, Winn Tile Company, Allen Commercial, and CJ Commercial Company, which all serve the construction service industry in the East Texas, Dallas, and Bossier City, Louisiana areas. John served as CEO of Jones Legacy Ventures until 2020 when he transitioned to Chairman of the Board.

John has been active for many years in the Lumberman’s Association of Texas, where he has been a former president and was honored with the 2010 Texas Lumber Dealer of the Year award. John’s community contributions have been numerous, including President of the Henderson Optimist Club, Chairman of the YMCA campaign, Commissioner of the Henderson’s Boys Baseball Association, an elected Director of the Rusk County Electric Cooperative, while always being an active member of his church First Baptist Church of Henderson and Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler.

As John started looking ahead to his retirement, he wanted to remain productive and contribute to his community. Combining his love of horses with his love for children, John developed a passion for therapeutic riding while volunteering at the Spirit of St. Louis Therapy Center in Tyler. Seeing the need for better facilities and organization, John helped develop and is now President of the Board for the Starbrite Therapeutic Equestrian Center. Starbrite serves autistic, Downs syndrome, and birth or traumatic injury patients from children to adults. There are also opportunities for veterans’ therapy with plans for expansion of this ministry in the future.

John and Lisa currently live in Flint. They are proud parents of two grown and successful Aggie children, Jeb Jones of Tyler and Leigh Jones Namken of New Braunfels.

Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright, Turner High School Class of 1961

Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright attended Prairie View A&M after graduating as Turner Valedictorian.

In 1973, she founded Total Experience Gospel Choir in Seattle, Washington, with whom she toured and served faithfully for 45 years. Pat and her choir also dedicated many hours to hurricane relief work, rebuilding lives and property hit in the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana and Mississippi. They traveled to Japan to work in the Ishinomaki refugee camps. Pastor Wright’s humanitarian efforts and talents have been recognized through TV specials, a movie documentary, and over 150 awards locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. Just a few of the artists with whom she has performed include: The Winans, The Judds, the Hawkins Family, Charlie Daniels, Dr. James Cleveland, Steely Dan, Quincy Jones, Heart, and Ray Charles.

The Carthage Independent School District Education Foundation Alumni Association President Gina Sue Rogers Bradley recently announced the 2021 inductees for the CISD Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. They include Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright – Turner High School Class of 1961, Dr. John Copeland Ray – Carthage High School Class of 1966, and John Lee Jones – Carthage High School Class of 1971.

These honorees and their families will enjoy a day of festivities on Homecoming Friday, October 15, 2021. They will speak to the Carthage High School students at an assembly before the pep rally, and then they will be honored with a reception at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame from 4:30-6:30 p.m. At the football game afterwards, they will be recognized and honored with a key to the city on the football field during Carthage Homecoming ceremonies at Bulldog Stadium. Everyone is invited to attend the reception, ballgame, and Homecoming activities.

Pastor Patrinell “Pat” Wright was one of eight siblings born in Carthage to a Baptist preacher father, Rev. Alton B. Staten Sr., and a school-teacher mother Haru Butler Staten. She sang her first solo at the age of three, and by the time she turned 14, she had taught herself to play the piano and was directing two choirs at her father’s church. In 1961, she graduated as Valedictorian of Turner High School and went on to attend college at Prairie View A&M in Hempstead, Texas.

In 1964, Pat moved to Seattle, Washington, where she began an extensive music career. In 1973, she founded Total Experience Gospel Choir. The very well-known choir, including members aged 4-76, has traveled and performed in 38 states, on 5 continents, and in 22 countries. She and the Total Experience Gospel Choir visited the Gulf Coast areas of Louisiana and Mississippi, dedicating many hours of hurricane relief work for several years after Hurricane Katrina. They held fundraisers and participated in rebuilding. Pat and her choir also worked untiringly helping the people of Ishinomaki, Japan, through fundraisers to aid and assist the feeding, clothing, and ministry needs of hundreds in the refugee camps. They then traveled there in May 2012 to work in the camps and to share their musical ministries.

Pat and the Total Experience Gospel Choir won the gold medal in Australia at the International Music Festival in 1993. In 2007, they were awarded the silver medal at the Busan International Choral Festival and Competition in Korea. Pastor Wright’s humanitarian efforts and talents have been recognized through TV specials, a movie documentary “Patrinell: The Total Experience,” and over 150 awards locally, statewide, nationally, and internationally. Just a few of the artists with whom she has performed include: The Winans, The Judds, the Hawkins Family, Charlie Daniels, Dr. James Cleveland, Steely Dan, Quincy Jones, Heart, and Ray Charles. She and her choir have always been out and about doing what they could to help while never forgetting that Jesus Christ is the reason for all their seasons and successes.

Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright retired the choir in October 2018 after 45 years of faithful service. She is married to Rev. Benny Wright, and they have two grown children, four grandsons, and one granddaughter.

Dr. John Copeland Ray, Carthage High School Class of 1966

Dr. John Ray earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Biology from SFA University and then graduated from the University of Houston with his Educational Administration Doctorate. John dedicated his 40-year professional career to Brazosport College teaching Anatomy and Physiology before serving as Vice President of the college for 24 years. A few of John’s numerous professional and community contributions include President of the Texas Association of Community College Instructional Administrators, President of the Stilwell Retirement Residence Board of Directors, President of the Panola County Retired School Employees Association, Chair of the SMU Perkins Theological Seminary Lay School of Theology, and teacher of adult Sunday school classes. John is a certified Master Gardener, an avid beekeeper, and a life-long student including theology classes at Oxford University.

The Carthage Independent School District Education Foundation Alumni Association President Gina Sue Rogers Bradley recently announced the 2021 inductees for the CISD Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame. They include Pastor Patrinell Staten Wright – Turner High School Class of 1961, Dr. John Copeland Ray – Carthage High School Class of 1966, and John Lee Jones – Carthage High School Class of 1971.

These honorees and their families will enjoy a day of festivities on Homecoming Friday, October 15, 2021. They will speak to the Carthage High School students at an assembly before the pep rally, and then they will be honored with a reception at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame from 4:30-6:30 p.m. At the football game afterwards, they will be recognized and honored with a key to the city on the football field during Carthage Homecoming ceremonies at Bulldog Stadium. Everyone is invited to attend the reception, ballgame, and Homecoming activities.

Dr. John Copeland Ray, son of John Childress and Dorothy Copeland Ray, graduated from Carthage High School in 1966. He then continued his education at Stephen F. Austin University where he earned both his Bachelor of Science degree and his Master of Science degree in Biology. John went on to complete his Doctoral degree in Educational Administration at the University of Houston. His entire forty-year professional career was spent at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Texas. After teaching Anatomy and Physiology to aspiring nurses, he dedicated twenty-four years as the Vice President of Brazosport College. During these years of leading and directing the college, he also served in many related capacities including Chair of the Texas Common Course Numbering Committee and President of the Texas Association of Community College Instructional Administrators.

In Lake Jackson, John was active in the community serving on the Lake Jackson EMS Board, the Lake Jackson Charter Review Committee, the Dow Chemical Emergency Advisory Committee, and the Brazoria County Economic Development Council. He was also President of the Brazosport Chamber of Commerce and taught an adult Sunday school class. In addition, John faithfully held the office of President of the Board at Stilwell Retirement Residence, a home for Texas retired teachers, for ten years. Since retiring and returning to Carthage, John remains active in his hometown community having served as Chair of the Panola College Foundation Board, and currently serving as President of the Panola County Retired School Employees Association, and on the executive committees of the CISD Education Foundation Board, the Texas Retired Teacher Region VII Committee, and the Panola County Chamber of Commerce. He also continues to teach at First United Methodist Church, Carthage.

In his retirement, John remains a lifelong learner as a student in continuing education classes in theology at Oxford University and at the Lay School of Theology at the SMU Perkins Theological Seminary. He finds time to garden as a certified Master Gardener, and he is a self-taught, avid beekeeper. John believes that travel is one of life’s best teachers, and he and Jane have traveled broadly.

John and his wife Jane Moore Ray, also a CHS graduate of 1966, are parents of one son Jake, who is now deceased.

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