Cyril Elementary School dedicates new gym floor to Dee Ann Whitman

Published: Dec. 7, 2022 at 8:24 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - On Wednesday, Cyril Elementary School dedicated their new gym floor to a legend at Cyril Public School, Coach Dee Ann Whitman.

Dee Ann Whitman retired last year, after serving as Cyril Elementary School’s Physical Education teacher and track and basketball coach for 37 years. School officials and former students wanted to name the new court after her so they held a special ceremony to surprise her.

“So she’s had kids that started in pre-K and had them every year until they’re in 6th grade. So, the impact she had has been amazing,” Aldridge said.

Shanae Aldridge, a former student of Coach Whitman’s, is now trying to fill her shoes as a coach.

“When I was in 6th grade and she was my coach, I thought she had the coolest job ever and I wanted to be just like her. I wanted to be the PE coach at Cyril and here I am, so talk about impact right? Like she impacted my life so much that I wanted to be just like her and have her job here,” Aldridge said.

Vanda Edmondson is also one of Coach Whitman’s former students and was actually in Coach Whitman’s first class at Cyril.

“Bless her heart, we would call her on weekends and holidays, please open the gym for us. And she would oblige us to come up here and open the gym,” Edmondson said.

Dee Ann Whitman is not the only legend Cyril has. The Cyril Football field is named after her father Wendall Whitman.

“If anyone were to ever write a book on the history of Cyril Public Schools it would have the Whitman name all over it,” Edmondson said.

“There is no doubt that Whitman the name needs to be all over Cyril Public Schools because of the impact they have made on this community and this school,” Edmondson said.

Edmondson said Coach Whitman is so dedicated to the students that she would literally give the shoes off her feet.

“One of the girls who was playing for Whitman’s team, her mom was at the hospital with her brother who had an accident, and somehow she got to the game without her basketball shoes. Coach Whitman took off her shoes and gave that girl her shoes so that she could play in that game,” Edmondson said.