VWSD celebrates accomplishments; fired up for new school year

Published 8:06 pm Saturday, August 4, 2018

Dancing, music and fun filled the Vicksburg Convention Center Friday as the Vicksburg Warren School District kicked off the school year and celebrated last year’s academic successes with the annual convocation aimed at motivating and inspiring teachers, administrators and employees of the school system.

Themed “A Million Dreams,” the talent of students and educators was on full display as musical skits inspired from “The Greatest Show” brought those in attendance to their feet with cheers and applause and even brought featured speaker Ron Clark to tears.

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“I have never seen anything like this,” said Clark, a renowned educator who has implemented unique teaching methods in his classrooms and currently runs the innovative Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta.

“This is incredible! The best I’ve seen in the country,” said Clark, who has done guest speaking engagements across the country to help fund his academy. “I’ve been to all 50 states and I’ve never seen anything like this. I love Vicksburg!”

But before the theatrics began and Clark took the stage, VWSD Superintendent Chad Shealy provided an update on the academic accomplishments of the past school year, noting test scores and graduation rates have increased over the last three years in the school system.

“Last year’s graduating class of students was the highest in 16 years,” Shealy said.

Shealy also used the occasion to thank all of the educators, administrators and support staff for choosing to work in the school system “and for loving our students.”

He also thanked those who overwhelmingly supported the passage of an $83 million school bond to fund a $141 million building campaign for all the schools in the district.

“So many of you made this happen,” Shealy said. “It truly was a team effort.”

Other speakers included VWSD board president Bryan Pratt, Mayor George Flaggs Jr., and Warren County Board of Supervisors president Richard George. But it was Clark who many in attendance came to see and he didn’t disappoint them with stories of how he went from working four years at Dunkin Donuts to now running one of the elite schools in the nation.

His goal is create a revolution of education in the nation to bring the U.S. public school system from 29th ranked in the world back to prominence.

“We should push kids and expect more of them,” Clark said, noting there is a generation of students currently who have been “coddled” and feel a sense of entitlement and will become adults not encouraged to work hard in life.

“It’s an epidemic,” Clark said.

Noting there are currently three million teachers in America, Clark said there is still a 60,000 shortage in the U.S., and schools must find ways to attract the best and brightest to be educators.

“It should be a blessing to affect the lives of children,” Clark said, offering inspiration and hope and encouragement to teachers in the coming year to be uplifting for one another.

“This district has the best energy and is one of the best places,” Clark said.

For more on the convocation, visit the VWSD Facebook page.