Parents of Year Putting Last of Five Daughters Through ACU

for immediate release Feb. 16, 1998

WHO/WHAT: Bill and Betty Tate of Grapevine will be presented with the 1997-98 ACU Parents of the Year Award. During the award presentation, the Tates' sophomore twin daughters, Kamara and Tami, will read the winning essay Kamara wrote. The other three Tate daughters will also be present: Lori Jackson (class of '92), Sheri Thompson (class of '94) and Keari Tate (class of '97).

WHEN/WHERE: Friday, Feb. 20

* Award Presentation (during chapel) - 11:05 a.m., Moody Coliseum
* Reception - 11:45 a.m., Reservations Only (dining room in the McGlothlin Campus Center)

WHY:  The goal of the annual award is "to recognize parents for the time and support they have given their own children as well as other young people and ACU." The Tates also represent the special commitment parents of large families must make to provide their children with a college education.

TRIVIA: At least two other families have five daughters who are all ACU alumni.

* Virginia and William Vaught ('48) of Dallas have attended many ACU Homecomings and Sing Songs. For 16 consecutive years, one or more of their five daughters were attending ACU: Paula Chance ('74), Vanette Hutchison ('75), Susan Clark ('76), Tami Weaver ('80) and Kim Hancock ('84).

* The last of five daughters in the Fitzpatrick family of Grover, Missouri, graduated last year. They are Julie Anderson ('89), Kelly Smith ('91), Cheri Nienstadt ('93), Debbie Reynolds ('94), and Jodi Crowell ('97).

THE WINNING ESSAY: I nominate my parents as "Parents of the Year" because...

Almost 28 years ago, my parents were given their very first child, Lori Ann Tate (now Jackson). Since my dad had a desire to have a son, my mother again was pregnant two year later. Sheri Francis Tate (now Thompson) was born. Again my dad was without a son, so again my mom got pregnant three years later. Keari Kay Tate was born, although they were so sure she would be a boy. My parents were about to give up on the idea of a son, but they wanted to try one more time. Not only were my parents not blessed with a son, they had identical twin girls. I, Kamara Lanee Tate, was born first and my sister, Tamara Renee Tate, was born a minute later. My parents had no idea what they were in for. We were two months premature, and each weighed only three pounds. Although Tami's and my and our mom's health was in danger, the three of us all came out okay. Being parents of five girls itself signifies why my parents deserve to be Parents of the Year. (Although, my mom says that my dad deserved to have all girls, considering he used to be such a flirt.)

Imagine being a parent who not only has the stress and concerns of five girls, but yet also a hard-working job. Well, that would be my parents. My mother is an elementary school teacher, and my father is both the mayor of Grapevine and an attorney. So, as you can see they are busy people. My dad, William Douglas Tate, has been the mayor for more than twenty years and has been a constant servant in the community by putting the city's concerns over his own. He has worked hard to mold Grapevine into a proud, loving town which is safe and secure. His job is not easy, but I guess no job is. Being the mayor, my dad is constantly in the public eye. Citizens of Grapevine are constantly seeing him as the politician, the leader, the speaker, the mayor, but what sometimes goes unseen is his most important job of all: Bill Tate the father. Clients are constantly calling him at night after work hours, in which case he can never escape his work. His job goes beyond enjoyment, but demonstrates his ability to serve others and put their needs above his. He works out of compassion and love, and out of his desire to fulfill the needs and wishes of his daughters. And despite all these things, my father is a leader in the church, and can lead a prayer that could make angels cry.

My mother, Betty Francis Tate, is a woman that I hope I can someday be. She has a teaching ability which draws children to her with ease and comfort. She has been teaching for more than 30 years, and if you were to see her work, that would easily be portrayed. Peers that I graduated with would tell me that my mom was the best teacher they ever had. That is an obvious example of how influential she is upon the children that she teaches. Parents are constantly telling me at the daycare where I work that they are praying their kids get my mom as their teacher. I had my mother as a teacher and I know the kind of ability that she has. Sometimes my mother is someone that gets put behind the scenes, in that so many people do not see some of the things she does for others. One thing she does that does not go unnoticed, and never will, is her ability to be an incredible mother to her five girls. She is the wife that any husband could dream of. She cooks food that tastes as if it has come from heaven, and she is constantly busy doing something. If she is at home then she is probably either cooking, cleaning, sewing, or working on something for school.

As a family, financially it has not always been easy, but my parents have always done whatever it has taken to make my sisters and I happy. Two of my older sisters have had gorgeous weddings which any girl would dream for - not to mention that three of my sisters have graduated >from ACU, and Tami and I will in two years. Anyone that has children going to ACU knows that it does not come cheap. My parents knew what it meant for us to go to a Christian school, and in effect they have paid the cost. They have put in the extra work and effort to send us all through school without taking out any kind of loans or financial aid, and it has not been easy. Like most parents they put our needs above their own. Through the years, if one of us wanted to do gymnastics, then we were in gymnastics, if we wanted to take piano lessons, then my parents had us signed up for piano lessons, etc. The bottom line is that they have always done what is has taken to complete all of our needs and desires.

Neither of my parents ever has the opportunity to go to Abilene Christian University, yet they are always sure not to miss Homecoming, Sing Song and other main events. Through the years, Abilene Christian University has grown to be a part of them as it has their children, and it is hard for me to realize sometimes that they never had the opportunity that their daughters have been given. Just as it is a part of our hearts, it is a part of theirs. If Abilene Christian University did not mean anything to them, then they would not have worked so hard and consequently grown gray hairs to make sure all of us were students here.

Being parents to five girls is obviously not an easy job, but my parents have shown and portrayed to others that it is possible. Although I know it has not always been easy for them, being a parent is not easy. Within the last three years my twin sister and I have been in three car wrecks if that tells you anything.

I do not know if what I write of my parents seems to stand out in any way, but if you were to come and visit my family at Christmas, or any other holiday, then we would stand out. My parents have shown all of us as daughters the way you should portray yourself to others. As sisters we are closer than any sisters can be, and that has happened through the influence placed upon family values and morals by our parents. They have molded the five of us girls into children of God, and servants to others. I pray that someday I can be to my children what my parents have been for me. I know the same holds true with all my sisters. We all love them very much. And to my parents I would like to say, "I thank my God every time I remember you." (Philippians 1:3)

The five of us girls all love and appreciate you more than you will ever know.

Kamara Lanee Tate

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Last update: February 17, 1998