BOONVILLE — Teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria staff and custodians from all across Yadkin County gathered at Starmount High School last Wednesday for a celebration to begin the new school year. Following a breakfast, the group convened in the gymnasium where the Forbush High School JROTC presented the colors and fourth-grader from Yadkinville Elementary, Nick Weisner, lead the pledge of allegiance.
Yadkin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Martin welcomed faculty and staff, and Chairman of the Board of Education Howard McKnight also shared some remarks.
Teacher of the year Mark Beuter and Principal of the Year Jill Logan also spoke.
Martin said that while some groups might fly in a highly-paid big name motivational speaker to inspire teachers and staff at the start of a new school year, he was even more proud to be able to announce the special guest speakers, three area students.
Aiden Walters from Boonville Elementary, Riley Warfel from Forbush Middle and senior Alli St. John from Starmount High School each shared their thoughts on the positive experiences they have had so far in their individual journeys as Yadkin County students and they said they were excited about the start of a new school year.
The students speakers received a standing ovation, accompanied by cheers of support, from the teachers and staff.
Principals from each county school welcomed new teachers and staff and Martin shared some closing remarks. He told all the new Yadkin County school system staff members, “You have chosen a great school system in which to work, and I believe that you will find the people you work with to be enthusiastic about what they do. That’s one of the reasons I love Yadkin County Schools so much because you are enthusiastic about what you do and you do your best every day to be a positive influence in the students’ lives.”
Martin also reminded all staff members of the importance of what they do.
“It doesn’t matter what job you perform in our school system. Each of you has a tremendous responsibility to our students. They are the reason we do what we do,” he said. “Never underestimate the importance of what you do. Never ever say ‘I am just a teacher.’ Never say ‘I am just a teacher assistant’ or ‘I am just a bus driver or a mechanic or a cafeteria worker or a coach.’ You are much more than that to your students.”
Teachers and staff all seemed excited to begin the new year.
“I cannot wait to start student teaching at Forbush High School and start impacting and motivating students to follow their dreams,” said Jamie Groce, a senior at Appalachian State University. Groce is a graduate of Starmount High School and said she was thrilled to be student teaching this semester in her home county. She will graduate in December and hopes to become a full-time teacher in Yadkin County.
LeDon Wall, exception children instruction coach for the K-8 county schools, said, “All of the staff are excited about the new kids and the new year and we will try our best to make it the best possible.”
Director of Student Services for Yadkin County Schools, Kristi Gaddis, thought the opening celebration for teachers and staff was a great way to start off the year.
“Yadkin County schools have come together here at the beginning and we’re ready for students to come back, we’re excited to see them and I know they’re excited to see us.”
Kitsey E. Burns may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.