After briefly mentioning budget cuts, Butler Avenue principal Vanessa Brown put on a blue robe and the stage curtain opened.
The music of Kirk Franklin’s “Stomp” came through the speakers of Clinton High School’s (CHS) Prestage Auditorium as Brown joined a group of performers. In the aisles, teachers and staff members from Butler Avenue joined along by clapping to the uptempo track.
At CHS, a group of city educators and school staff members had fun watching principals lead energetic school spirit skits. It was one of several activities held Wednesday during Clinton City Schools’ Opening Day Ceremony. The purpose of the event was to welcome back teachers for a new school year, which begins Monday, Aug. 25.
“The excitement level was great,” superintendent Stuart Blount said about having all of the staff members in one location.
The theme for the event was “A Global Journey,” and the experiences that staff members bring to their classrooms and workplace.
“Many of them will be able to share those experiences with our students, so it can create a spark and foundation for them to want to do things globally,” Blount said.
Along with other teachers, Blount is excited about next week.
“Our kids come back on Monday and we’re excited about every facet of our school system and looking forward to a great school year,”the superintendent stressed.
Mary Jo Carr, a seventh-grade social studies teacher at Sampson Middle School, was one of many teachers who attended the event. When school begins, Carr will see new faces in her classroom.
She enjoys being a part of Clinton City Schools, she said.
“I like the hometown feel and sense of community that’s within the school system,” Carr said. “They educated all of my children and I have worked here since 2001. It’s a blessing every day to come to school.”
Carr has taught for more than 20 years, but this may be her last school year.
Many teachers such as Carr are well known to the district or in particular schools, but other educators will begin a new journey with Clinton City Schools. One of them is CHS band director Dustin Nguyen. The recent Appalachian State University graduate said music was an outlet when he was younger.
“In math and science there’s only one right answer,” he said. “But with music, you can set whatever answer you want. You have that freedom to express yourself. I love that, and that’s what I want to do for the kids, give them this warm environment so they can express who they want to be.”
He was introduced to the audience by Clinton High principal Dr. Steven Miller as the “new maestro.”
“I really like the feel of it,” Nguyen said about CHS having a family-oriented environment.
It’s one of the reasons he applied for the job. He recently finished three weeks of summer band camp and scheduled dates for competitions.
With football season approaching, he’ll learn routines such as pregame.
“I don’t want to step on anybody toes,” he said. “I want to talk to kids to see what they’ve done before, work that in and try to improve on it.”
He feels lucky to in Clinton for his first full-time teaching position.
“It’s a great administration and I’ve had great band booster parents,” he said. “The kids have been really receptive. I’m just looking forward to setting a standard, getting a tradition going here and moving forward with Clinton High school.”