Every inch of the high-ceilinged venue was filled with friendly chatter as locals of all ages gathered for the 61st annual Louise-Hillje Chamber of Commerce banquet Monday night.

After an hour of socializing, attendees took their seats for the announcement of Citizen of the Year, awarded to Louise native Jeanette Stockton and Educator of the Year, given to Louise Junior High teacher Christopher Chromcak.

An active member in the community and the Chamber’s Mill Project, Stockton was presented the award by Chamber Director Darryl Chromcak.

“Whether it be the church, the school, the Chamber or the library, you name it and this person has actively supported it,” Chromcak said.

Stockton is involved with the Lion’s Club, the Louise Beautification Committee and more. She graduated from Louise High School in 1961 and married her husband, John, in 1964. The couple has two children and four grandkids.

“Thank you for your commitment to the town,” Darryl said. “Thank you for your commitment to us.”

Chromcak, a social studies teacher and an assistant coach for Louise sports, coaches the offensive and defensive line in football and is the assistant coach in girls basketball and baseball. He was nominated by LISD administrators. Louise-Hillje Second Vice President Amanda Cox, who went to high school with Chromcak, presented the award.

“Every administrator at this school agrees that this educator has a full plate, but in all aspects, always goes above and beyond and gives 110 percent to every hat that he wears,” Cox said.

He graduated from Louise ISD in 2002 and has a degree in Kinesiology from Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi. Chromcak has a wife and three daughters.

“Whether it’s watching films on the weekends or washing jerseys in the locker room, he is all in for Louise ISD,” Cox said.

After the awards, guests dug into a chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes feast in the Rustic Chandelier. Joe Valentino Show performers finished up the night, singing and dancing to 1950s music fit for the event’s malt-shop theme.

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