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2004 Graduate – Jessie C. Upton


Jessie C. UptonThe population of Inola is approximately 1444 and 607 families help to make this total. The History of Inola dates back hundreds of years with a settlement of Indians known as the Missippians. The French, Spanish and other trappers visited the area over the centuries, until the area was purchased as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

The Creek Indians started with settlements in 1828. The land was left as grassland until around 1890 when the Kansas and Arkansas Valley Railroad passed through this area and Inola was started. The town of Inola established the first post office in 1890, the same year the railroad was completed from Ft. Smith, Arkansas to Coffeyville, Kansas.

Inola was basically an agricultural area until oil was discovered shortly before World War I. The town boomed with banks, meat markets, car dealerships, bulk plants, restaurants, etc., and was a very prosperous town until the Great Depression hit sending oil and farm prices to the bottom.

In 1935-36 the terrible drought took its toll and many families picked up and moved west to California, Washington and Oregon. The town remained in a very steady decline into the late 1950’s as the population dropped to under 300. In the early 1960’s new housing started; and Inola has experienced very slow but steady growth ever since. The banks have returned, along with many other businesses. The community has some light manufacturing but is basically a bedroom community of Tulsa.

The history of Inola is very unique and holds a very colorful past, as with most small towns in Oklahoma. Inola’s people have always been helpful, warm and friendly. They have shared a close community bond since surviving the Great Depression, World War I and II, and they are striving to be a very productive part of the new Oklahoma that is forthcoming.

On very proud member of this tight-nit community is Jessie C. Upton. Jessie earned his high school diploma from Citizens’ last May. He did not feel he was getting what he needed from Inola’s schools. Although Inola boasts of a fine school system, the social ills that plague the big cities prevail there too. Jessie was fed up with the unprincipled peer pressure, the drugs, and the fights. He decided to finish up his diploma requirements with Citizens High School. “No more fights, no drugs, just me and my studies.”

Jessie enjoyed the “one-on-one” studying and knew he would have to do the work to learn and graduate. He had seen far too many students fall behind or just not want to learn. He had also witnessed “social promotions.” “With school overcrowding in the state it is, it seems students are pushed through the grades weather they’re ready or not. “ Jessie wanted his diploma to mean something and qualify him for entrance into the United States Marine Corps. “I was biting at the bit to get my diploma so I could enlist in the Marines.”

Jessie’s family is a wonderfully committed Christian family. They put God first and everything else seems to always work out. “My dad is an engine mechanic and my mom is an Evidence Officer.” Jessie has a sister that is a school teacher too. We wonder how Jessie’s decision to home school went over with her.

“Now I am a Marine. I could not have done this with out my diploma. I always have wanted to break out of this small done and do something with my life. With the help of Citizens’ High School, I have done just that.” Jessie continues to study and learn the ways on an infantryman. And he wanted us to share with all of you: “Just remember, never give up.”

Jessie has made us here at Citizens proud. We are honored we could help him achieve his goals. We are also extremely grateful that he is willing to risk his life to protect ours.

Jessie, you are Citizens’ High School’s Graduate of the Month for March 2004.

Jessie C. Upton is Citizens’ High School
“Graduate of the Month” for March 2004.