Local business leaders and school administrators welcomed all staff and employees of Clinton City Schools as they walked into Prestage Auditorium at Clinton High School Monday morning.
Board of Education chairman E.R. Mason, stood alongside Jim Matthews, of Matthews Health Mart and Gift Shop, as well as representatives from Ford of Clinton, Horace Mann Insurance and other local companies, greeting employees while passing out Dark Horse emblazoned stress balls and door prize tickets to everyone who walked through the double doors.
Once inside, employees settled down and got the official greeting from Mason, who encouraged them to make the upcoming school year the “best school year ever” and Matthews, who doubled as the business community representative. “We all know how important it is for the community to have a good school system,” Matthews told the crowd. “We are here today to let all of you know how much we appreciate you and the job that you do every day.”
Matthews also noted how enthusiastic the crowd was. “Watching all of you walk in today, I was amazed at the energy level,” he assured. “Talking to you and seeing you come in like that, the energy was really overwhelming and I am happy to see that.”
After the introduction of new school employees and comments from Teacher of the Year Vevlyn Lowe, who encouraged teachers to “do something different” during the 2012-13 school year, new superintendent Stuart Blount took the stage.
“I know that you all want to get into your classrooms, but I can tell you that I am excited that you all are here today,” he asserted “I am excited that I am here, myself. I am truly honored to be here working in Clinton City Schools with all of you and working within this community.”
Blount then talked briefly about his family and himself, using humor to make fun of himself, which quickly endeared him to everyone in the packed crowd.
The atmosphere was fun, but Blount also drove home a serious point. “You cannot forget the impact that you will have on the lives that you will come in contact with this year,” he said. “I want you to think of a student that you have had a difficult time with in the past and I also want you to think about a co-worker or a parent that you may have never agreed with …”
He then read Dorothy Law Nolte’s 1998 poem, “Children Learn What They Live,” which explains that children are destined to repeat what they are shown early on in life.
“If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.”
“I ask each of you this morning, what will the students learn this year in your instructional space?” Blount asked.
After more encouraging words to the educators, the new superintendent told the jam-packed crowd that he was hoping everyone had a successful year.
“I wish you the absolute best of everything this year,” he said. “I am just as excited as you, and together we will make this a great school year.”
After Blount’s remarks, he welcomed every administrator on stage to say a cheer for the school year, followed by each individual school, whose staff also delivered their own school cheer.
While all the schools delivered a festive “Dark Horse” cheer, it was Butler Avenue’s employees, who delivered one of the most entertaining of the day. With principal Vanessa Brown, Board of Education member Carol Worley and assistant superintendent Terrace Miller leading the entire staff, the crowd cheered wildly after Brown stopped the cheer and told them they needed a “remix.”
At that moment, heavy bass dropped from the speakers and Brown, Worley and Miller, along with the entire Butler Avenue School staff, began a routine that was club ready, much to the delight of the roaring crowd.
In fact, as her staff exited the stage to the wild applause, Brown was still moving to the music on stage.
“Good luck Clinton High,” Blount said to the following school. “That is going to be one hard act to follow.”
If that level of excitement continues with the teachers and administrators, just imagine what the student are in for this year, some remarked.
To reach Doug Clark call 910-592-8137 ext. 123 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.