How long a fan? Don’t ask

Published 12:07 am Saturday, July 20, 2019

As an interviewer, there are times when you know you have met your match.

That was the case about three minutes into my conversation with Mavis Triebel.

The general education and developmental studies instructor has been a fixture at Lamar State College Port Arthur for a few years and was a needed source for context pertaining to the a feature story I was writing.

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She’s also a little bit of a firecracker. Another way to phrase it is she is awesome to converse with.

During the course of our conversation about one of her former students, I asked Ms. Triebel how long she had been teaching at the college. She simply said a “long time.”

Instinctually, I began rephrasing the question to lock down the specific answer being sought, then the tone from the previous reply set in.

In a polite but direct way, Ms. Triebel had already let me know her answer was about as specific as I was going to get, and you know what, I was quite OK with that.

What she was extremely forthcoming about was the subject of our conversation — her former student, Tevin Baker.

The recent LSCPA graduate aced two classes taught by Ms. Triebel — those being U.S. Government and Texas Government. In fact, he aced every class he took in two years on campus.

“He kept excellent records; all of his work was completed on time,” according to Ms. Triebel, who also noted Baker is a very religious young man, “very dedicated to his faith.”

With her insights, help from public information coordinator Gerry L. Dickert and a nice interview with Baker, The Port Arthur News published a feature on the young graduate July 16.

Under a new moniker, “Bright Futures,” the story about Tevin Baker marks the first in a weekly series (each publishing on Tuesdays) where our newspaper highlights unique and accomplished young people in our area.

There is a lot to look forward to when you shine a light on the great things being done by our students and recent graduates.

Spotlighting those achievements on social media, in print and on our website will surely allow those in our community to take pride in a younger generation ready for action.

One of the cool aspects of Baker’s story is his dual passion for sports, a dedication that earned a spot on his college basketball team.

And, as you would know it, that means his performance was again on display for Ms. Triebel, an intense LSCPA Seahawks fan.

She rarely misses a home game and has a special seat. You can usually find her near the school’s sports information director.

“I enjoyed watching (Baker) play,” Ms. Triebel said. “He was an excellent competitor. He never complained about pain. I would see other players from other teams hit him pretty tough, and he would say, ‘Oh Ms. Triebel, that is nothing.’ He was dedicated to his game.”

As a huge basketball fan myself, it’s great knowing I have an invite from Ms. Triebel to join her for a game and some good conversation next season.

I just hope she lets me ask her how long she’s been a fan of the team.

Stephen Hemelt is publisher of The Port Arthur News.