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Artesia senior continues family tradition

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Mike Smith Photo. Michaela Phipps (center) is joined by her mother Alisha Phipps(left) and father Thad Phipps(right) during a Letter of Intent signing day at Artesia School. She will attending Oklahoma Baptist University.

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ARTESIA-Michaela Phipps is carrying on the family name in Artesia.

The senior has competed for the Lady Dogs in soccer, track and cross country.

She comes from some good bloodlines. Her grandfather Mike Phipps played football for the Bulldogs in the 1960’s. He also taught and coached and retired a few years ago as the superintendent of the Artesia Public Schools. He also played football at the University of Arkansas.

Her father Thad Phipps played football and golf for the Bulldogs. He also played golf at Southwestern Oklahoma University and is currently an assistant superintendent at APS.

“I’m just real proud of here,” said Mike Phipps. “She’s an excellent student, she’s a Christian young lady, she’s going to a Christian school (and) she wants to further her Christianity and be a Christian leader throughout the country. I suspect she’ll do well.”

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Wednesday morning Michaela Phipps joined some of her other Artesia classmates to sign National Letter’s of Intent to move on to the next phase in their athletic and academic lives.

She will be attending Oklahoma Baptist University.

“I’ll be starting with cross country in the fall, and then I’ll move to indoor track in the winter and outdoor track in the spring,” she said.

She heard about Oklahoma Baptist from her youth pastor, “and we went to a church camp where they sponsored a lot of things and so I just kind of allowed God to start placing on my heart and eventually decided to go visit it and when I visited OBU I just fell in love with it.”

The school is located in Shawnee and she said she plans to major in youth and family ministry.

“I’m extremely excited for Michaela,” said Thad Phipps. “She’s been extremely dedicated to her academics and athletics here at Artesia High School.”

The proud father said his daughter’s schedule is going to be full next year, “Every morning when she wakes up her first thought is serving the Lord. Her mom and I are extremely proud of her for that.”

Phipps said APS has always stressed academics and activities like athletics and Wednesday’s signing ceremony was further proof.

“Whether they’re in band, choir, FFA, any of our activities or athletic programs here in Artesia, it’s such an important part of their education,” Phipps said.

“The personal skills that they learn from organization to learning how to talk to people that you just can’t learn from sitting in a classroom, it rounds their education out and they’re able to participate in activities and athletics,” he added.

“I have never seen anybody work as hard as she does,” said Shelley Ebarb AHS cross country coach.

“She’s a leader, she loves her team, she loves what she’s doing (and) she’s an amazing kid,” Ebard added.