Vicksburg Warren School District kicks off school year with lively convocation

Published 1:56 pm Friday, August 5, 2022

The Vicksburg Warren School District held its Teacher Convocation and Celebration to kick off the 2022-2023 school year on Thursday.

The event, held at the Vicksburg Convention Center, was a spectacle. Students and teachers performed energetic song and dance numbers for a packed audience. Guest speakers gave words of encouragement and advice.

People entering the venue were greeted with shouts of encouragement by several dozen VWSD cheerleaders flanking the main hallway. A drumline battery beat out cadences to amp up attendees as they entered the main auditorium.

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Festivities began with roll call. Students and teachers from each school were grouped together. Each school stood and cheered when introduced by one of its respective students. Air horns were in abundance.

The color guard then presented the colors accompanied by the Pledge of Allegiance and an invocation. Musical performances and guest speakers followed.

First to speak was Dr. Eddie Peasant, Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor of Education at William Carey University. Peasant spoke to the audience about his role in the university’s education program.

“We’re doing all we can to help solve the massive teacher shortage in our state,” he said, adding his hopes that teachers and parents of the VWSD would encourage students to consider majoring in education after graduating high school.

VWSD Superintendent Chad Shealy also spoke at the event. He thanked teachers for their work during the COVID pandemic.

“Thank you for being here on the tail end of the most difficult times we’ve ever had to be an educator,” Shealy said. “You stuck it out. You’re still with us.”

Shealy also revealed that, while official scores for the district are not out yet, VWSD has exceeded its own estimates.

“That is amazing. You did that work. You stuck by these kids. You did not give up,” he said. “You came up here after school and gave time away from your family and your personal investment.”

Several fully choreographed musical performances were the highlight of the event. One number had a surprise guest performance by Charity Lockridge, Vicksburg native and first runner-up of the 2022 Miss Mississippi Competition.

Another musical act featured teachers dressed in 1980s-style workout clothing dancing to the song “Maniac” from the 1983 film “Flashdance.” Light shows, fog machines and vibrant decorations accompanied the performances.

Motivational speaker and author Dr. Tommie Mabry was the headlining guest. The Jackson native shared his struggles and triumphs of having a difficult childhood and finding his way to earning his doctorate from Jackson State University. His early life was marked by crime and a lack of direction.

“(After getting my degree) I went back to the school district that kicked me out and became a teacher at that school,” he said. “If I’m going to get a Ph.D., you know that kid that doesn’t think he can make it, you know that kid that doesn’t really understand that he can come out of a situation and make it… I eliminate those excuses.

“I cannot walk in my future with my foot in the past,” he added

A recording of the event can be found on the VWSD Facebook page.