Straughn alumni come back to alma mater to teach, coach

Published 10:16 pm Tuesday, August 25, 2020

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By: Zack Maio

Sarah Kate Shiver and Candace Tucker both share two passions in common: the education field and a love for their alma mater.  The two alumni find themselves now right back at home.  Covington County Schools returned to session this week, and the beginning of school has a new look this year with the addition of several new faculty members.

Shiver gets her educational career underway this year, while Tucker is entering her fifth year of teaching, her first at Straughn High School.

A 2016 graduate of SHS, Shiver will be teaching 11th grade English and drama.

“I’m looking forward to the year,” Shiver said. “You know what it’s like to be students at a school like this. You know all of the ins and outs, and it just feels so good to teach at a place you love. I graduated from here and had the most school spirit, so it worked out really perfectly.”

Shiver graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Language Arts Education from the University of Alabama in the spring.    

She said the transition from student to teacher should not be too hard.

“I know a lot of the students even before coming here,” Shiver said. “Ultimately, I feel like I’m prepared to make the shift because it’s a whole new way of contributing to the school.”

She is most looking forward to using the hit Broadway musical Hamilton in her lessons.

“Even during the coronavirus pandemic, doing this allows students to be able to write about themselves and how it feels to live through history,” Shiver said. “That’s something I’m looking forward to and also just being here.”

Drama is another new opportunity for her.

“I was not in drama; however, I’m a huge theater nerd,” Shiver said. “One of my biggest regrets in high school was being too afraid to get in front of a stage.”

Shiver credits former English educators Debbie Parrish and Cindy Thompson for where she is today.

“It’s almost haunting to be in Mrs. Parrish’s former classroom,” Shiver said. “They were two of my biggest inspirations for wanting to go into English. It almost broke my mom’s heart when I did not choose history, but I have always loved storytelling. Mrs. Parrish was one of the first people who really showed me that I was good at this.  She looked at my writing and said, ‘This is worth something.’”

Although Parrish retired after 31 years, Shiver is still thankful to have a part of her classroom with her.

“She left me posters and a lot of books in here, so it still has her touch.”

Shiver is the daughter of Kenny and current SHS history teacher Tina Shiver.

A 2002 graduate of SHS, Tucker will be teaching 11th and 12th grade physical and environmental science.

Prior to returning home, Tucker spent four years at Dauphin Junior High School in Enterprise.  In addition to her teaching role, Tucker will also be taking over the Straughn softball program.  She brings a vast knowledge of the game after having played from the age of five through her college career at Troy University.

It will not be her first head coaching nod as she previously served in the same capacity at LBWCC.

“I was a walk-on at Troy and earned a scholarship before helping here at Straughn as an assistant,” Tucker said. “Then, I went to LBWCC where I was the head coach for four years.”

Tucker has been married to her husband Daniel for 12 years. Together, they have two daughters: six-year-old Ada and four-year-old Kennedy along with son Atwood who turns two in December.

“They’re excited to ride to school with Momma,” Tucker said. “They don’t really understand what this new schedule entails, but riding with me and being there at home with them in the afternoon has them excited.”

Tucker is most excited to bring family and pride back to the SHS softball program.

“I want to set a good example for them,” Tucker said.   

Normalcy is on her agenda in time for the 2021 softball season.

“It is the hope we can get back to that, and I’m going to do my best,” Tucker said.

She is also taking on an assistant role with girls’ basketball coach Bradley Stephens.

“It will be fun to work with him and learn things under him,” Tucker said. “I’m excited about this new area and helping him out.”

Tucker is the daughter of Wyatt and Fran Sasser and has two younger siblings:  Cas and Cristin.  All four are graduates of SHS.