City schools welcome back teachers, staff

Lauren Williams Staff Writer

August 20, 2013

Clinton City Schools welcomed its teachers and staff back to school yesterday morning with a fun and inspiring opening day ceremony held in Clinton High School’s Prestage Auditorium.

The ceremony’s theme was “Power Up” and many took to the stage to encourage teachers and staff to do just that in preparation for the new school year which will officially start when students return next Monday, Aug. 26.

The morning’s speakers included Clinton Board of Education chairwoman Georgina Zeng, Business Community Representative Jimmy Matthews, the Rev. Roy Hilburn of Coharie United Methodist Church, Margaret Turlington with Simple Gifts, Teacher of the Year Stephanie Carter, and Superintendent Stuart Blount.

A gold sponsor of Clinton City Schools, Matthews, of Matthews Health Mart and Gifts, shared that he is a product of the city school system, graduating in 1961.

He praised the teachers, telling them that that are deeply appreciated. “We value what you do in our schools,” he asserted.

Noting that the present times are tough, he encouraged teachers to “not get caught up in what’s happening in Raleigh and in Washington,” but instead to focus on doing what they love — teaching — and to act on faith.

Teacher of the Year Carter shared with her fellow teachers that “one of the great things about teaching is that it’s never boring.”

She urged the teachers to be mindful of the power of positive thinking. “There’s only one person you can control — that’s you … It’s up to you to make this year a positive one for you and those around you … This school year I want to challenge you to develop more positive thoughts.”

When he took the stage, Blount asked the teachers and staff before him, “What goals and dreams do you have for this school system, for yourselves and, most importantly, for our students this year?”

He shared with them that as a whole the school system was going to start this new year with four strategic priorities — high performing staff, students, communication, and learning environments.

As the school system continually strives to improve, he encouraged teachers to “try strategies that are new to you” and to “work as a team.”

“Do not ever forget the power that you have to influence those around you,” Blount concluded.

Following the speakers’ remarks, each school participated in a fun, entertaining school spirit show, sharing their enthusiasm and school spirit with their colleagues through music, dance, cheers, marches, and video.

Lauren Williams can be reached at 910-592-8137, ext. 117 or via email at