By Derrick Smith
Raising your kids in the town that you grew up in and watching them graduate from the school you graduated from is something special. As a lifelong Wildcat, Tori Graham had no doubt this is where she wanted to raise her kids.
“I grew up in Ponca City and I knew when I had children that this is where I wanted them to grow up,” she said. “I love how involved our community is with our school system and how the people in Ponca City support our schools, teachers, and students. We have wonderful, caring, invested teachers who truly care about our children and their education. We have an amazing athletic program with amazing coaches who care not only about the sport but about the athlete as well. Our orchestra program is also top-notch with wonderful leaders.”
A 1990 graduate of Ponca City, Tori did not play any sports in high school, although she did play soccer and softball as a child.
Graham has four children that have graduated from or are currently attending Ponca City.
“Tyler played soccer and graduated Po-Hi in 2010,” she said. “Ashtin was a varsity cheer captain and an All-State Cheerleader and she graduated in 2014. Annie was also a varsity cheer captain, played tennis, and was a member of the orchestra. She graduated in 2019. Emma is my youngest, she is going to be a junior this year and is a varsity captain this year. She is also in the orchestra and will graduate in 2023. I also have a grandson, Ayden Graham who will be a kindergartner at Woodlands Elementary this year.”
Throughout her parenting years, Tori has encouraged her children to play sports because she says that impact lasts way beyond the high school years.
“Sports and organized activities inspire teamwork, commitment, reliability, accountability, and flexibility, all of which are great lifelong habits. They also foster lifelong friendships and boost self-esteem and school spirit.”
Along with being a proud parent, Graham also serves as the secretary of the Varsity Cheer Booster Club.