3rd Annual Gideon Alumni Art Show
Featured Artist ~ September 4th, 2010
Courtney Ward Robertson Class of 1998
2nd Annual Gideon Alumni Art Show
Featured Artist ~ September 5, 2009
Bernice Handley Landers from the Class of 1951.

Bernice Handley was six years old when her family moved from
Pemiscot County to the small community of Tallapoosa, Missouri.  
She attended school at Gideon from 1st grade until her graduation
in May, 1951.  Shortly after graduation she became Mrs. Hugh Landers
in December of the same year.  Two years of military service sent the
young couple out of state.  They then returned to rural Tallapoosa
and began farming in 1954.  When their family expanded with children
Janie, Sammy & David, Bernice embraced her role as mother and
homemaker with unselfish devotion.

Her interest in art began in the elementary school's art class.  During her high school years, art was not included in the
curriculum but the desire and talent remained within her.  Even after her children were born she stated, "When my kids are
grown and are out of school, I'm going to take art classes."
Bernice Handley Landers
Bernice read in the local newspaper where Mrs. Almyra Tolleson was offering art classes
at the community center in Malden.  She decided it was time to pursue her hidden passion
and enrolled in the class.  This was in 1977... just one year before her youngest child
graduated from high school.

When Mrs. Tolleson retired from teaching art classes in 1986, Bernice continued her
training with Mr. Larry Adams in Caruthersville until 1996.  It was under his guidance that
her love of portrait painting flourished.  Her determination to tap into her heart's desire was
a beautiful discovery of overflowing artistic talent.  The dedication and discipline that
spans twenty years of  training is truly evident when one views her work.

Bernice's other interests and hobbies include bowling, scrapbooking and visiting with
friends and family.  She is active in the 1st Baptist Church of Tallapoosa, the Rural
Independent Women's Club of Risco, the Gideon Women's Club, and the Gideon Alumni

Photo to the left: Artist Bernice Handley Landers is shown with one of her many
paintings that was on display in 2009's Art Show.  The portrait
she is holding is of a young Lindsay Stone Tedie, her grandchild.
1st Annual Gideon Alumni Art Show
Featured Artist ~ August 30, 2008
Rita Huckeby from the Class of 1974.

It was in junior high art class that instructor Mrs. Almyra Tolleson
discovered and began to nurture the natural talent of her student Rita
Huckeby.  The special influence of her mentor led Rita to recognize her
own calling as an art teacher.  Upon graduating from GHS in 1974 as
the valedictorian with a perfect grade point average, Rita began her
higher studies in art.  She graduated magna cum laude from Southeast
Missouri State University in Cape Girardeau with high distinction
honors.  One of her professors, Dr. Edwin Smith recently shared these
" Rita Huckeby was an excellent student in my art classes.
She was a hard worker and her work was always creative and produced and presented in a professional manner."  

She began her teaching career in the fall of 1978 at New Madrid County Central High School in New Madrid, Missouri.  While
teaching full-time, Rita pursued and achieved the Master's Degree in art at SEMO.  Although considered a quiet person, Rita
expressed herself loudly with her skills in art.  Her work can be seen on T-shirts and sweat shirts, wood craft, a church baptistry, a
gym floor and even a rock!

In 1980 Rita gave birth to her only child, Josh.  Her life was enhanced and she began her calling as mother with the highest level of
love that can be given.  In 1992 both Rita and Josh were tragically killed in an automobile accident.

Rita's principal at NMCCHS, Dr. Mike Barnes states,
"Put succinctly, Rita was among the best teachers, if not the best teacher, I ever
had the pleasure to work with.  Not only was she an excellent artist in her own right, she had the unique ability to get the most out of
all her students - not just those who possessed natural artistic ability, but also those who initially displayed little or no interest or
aptitude.  She made good artists out of her less able students and amazing artists out of those who were more gifted.  She was
everything that the lofty term "Master Teacher" entails.  More importantly, though, she was a better person than she was a teacher.  
She was and still is sorely missed."
"A Moment of Quiet" by Rita Huckeby
Prints available for purchase for $20
"Frontier" by Rita Huckeby
Prints available for purchase for $20
In the early 1980's, Rita Huckeby
painted the bulldog that is in the center
of the gym floor.
To order prints by Rita Huckeby
please contact Shelley Johnson by
email at
About the Artist:
Upon graduation from Gideon High School in 1998,
Courtney Ward continued her education at the University of
Tennessee-Martin, where she earned the Bachelor of Fine
Arts Degree in 2003.  Post-graduate studies at the
University of Mississippi preface her long-term goal of
obtaining a Ph.D in art history.  Vocational  opportunities as
an interior designer, artist and sales representative for such
companies as Chestnut Hall, Amy Howard and Artisan
Studios, all in Memphis, Tennessee provided a broad
spectrum of experience in which her artistic talent
flourished.  Courtney married her high-school sweetheart
Nick Robertson in 2001.  They have four children:  Cash, 4; Phoenix, 3; Maverick, 2 and Bronze, 6 months.  A bi-vocational
family, the Robertsons currently engage in horse training in rural Parma, Missouri and pastor the Kimball Street Baptist
Church in Malden, Missouri.  Courtney's parents are Allen and Marie Fortner Ward, who are both 1972 GHS graduates.

Artist's Statement:  
From the time I was big enough to make a mark, I have been adding "aesthetic" value to
everything from the bathroom wall and the old black wood-burning stove, to the walls of
churches and my own canvases.  Art is my passion.  As a child, the muddy ditch water of
the Missouri Bootheel was the source of much imagination.  As I grew older the neon
greens and smoldering gold of wheat fields, the cool purple of the freshly turned field
soil, and the magnificence of a delta sunset inspired my sense of color and total awe of
the One who created it.  The fresh smells and infinite openness of my surroundings
gave birth to a wonder that can never be quenched, as well as a desire to share the
beauty, values, and ponderings that I have experienced.  This is the basis of my
aesthetics.  In such a delusive world, I want to express something higher, something
honest, through my work.  I hold fast to the One who gave me salvation...Jesus Christ.  
Though I often fall short in my service to Him, it is my desire to share the mercy and
grace He has so freely shown to me.
2014 Featured Artist

Dale Manning
Class of 1967
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August 31st, 201
During the
44th Annual Gideon Homecoming.
10:00AM - 1:00PM
In the North Hallway
of the Gideon High School Building
12th Annual
2015 Featured Artist

Lois Blanchard Liden
Class of 1953
2016 Featured Artist

Lori (Blackburn) Peterson
"Class of 1985"
2017 Featured Artist

Lana (Crane) Davis
"Class of 1986"
2019 Featured Artist
Tim Ashlock
Excelsior Springs, MO
Class of 1978