FAIRFIELD COUNTY — Reading, writing, arithmetic and rallies. That’s how they do it in Fairfield County.
Fairfield County School District faculty and staff began the new year with fervor at Fairfield County School District Convocation 2015, which included recognition of Teacher of the Year, an address from Ronald Rhames, president of Midlands Technical College; and many energetic displays of school spirit.
“We want to welcome you in a big way,” said Gervonder Brown.
Staff from each Fairfield County District school danced or shouted as “I Like the Way You Move” by Outkast played in Fairfield Central High School’s auditorium.
“Is this a great time or what?” asked Carl Jackson, vice chairman of the school board. “We’ve been through many of these school opening ceremonies, but never have I been through one like this.”
During the spirit portion of Fairfield County School District Convocation 2015, educators sang, danced, played instruments and otherwise demonstrated their school spirit in creative ways.
At the end of convocation, the most spirited schools, as determined by members of the audience, were revealed to be FCSD Transportation in third place, McCorey-Liston School of Technology and Fairfield Central High School tying for second place, Geiger Elementary School coming in as first-runner up and Fairfield Elementary School, whose performance included live horns, percussion and singing, won the spirit competition.
Teachers of the Year from every Fairfield County School District school were recognized, and a district-wide Teacher of the Year was named.
The teachers were J. Ryan Sharpe, Fairfield Central High School; Alicia Graham, Fairfield Middle School; Tara Blocker, Fairfield Magnet School for Math and Science; Marian Simmons, Fairfield Elementary School; Courtney Timms, Geiger Elementary School; Vernon Huggins, Kelly Miller Elementary School; Kaitlin Rexrode, Kelly Miller Elementary School; and Deepthi Reddimasi, Gordon Odyssey Academy.
Rexrode, who teaches pre-kindergarten at Kelly Miller Elementary School, received Teacher of the Year honors.
“I love my job,” Rexrode said. “Pre-K is my passion.”
Rexrode said observing the tremendously quick development of her young pupils is an extremely rewarding facet of her job. She also extended a challenge to the audience.
“Going forward, I want to challenge everyone to make school fun and engaging for our parents, our students and our community,” Rexrode said.
Midland Technical College’s president was the convocation’s featured speaker.
Rhames praised Fairfield County School District and said Midlands Technical College is proud to partner with the district.
“Y’all do a great job, and we’re so proud of the partnership we have with Fairfield County,” Rhames said. “Once again, I want to praise you for all that you do for the young people in the community. Midlands Technical college is proud to be your partner.”
Rhames said he believes the new Fairfield Career and Technology Center, which he called beautiful and wonderful, will create further opportunity for collaboration between the two educational entities.
“We often refer to our two years of college coupled with what you do as our K-14 model,” Rhames said.
Rhames concluded his speech with several hearty “Go Griffins.”
Fairfield County School District Superintendent J.R. Green said he believes Fairfield County schools will have a tremendous year.
“I can tell this is going to be one of the best years ever,” Green said.
Green referred to educators’ jobs as an awesome responsibility.
“It is our responsibility regardless of the dynamics that exist in their homes,” Green said.
Green said while he was aware certain students may be disinterested in school or even antagonistic, he tasked Fairfield county’s educators with remaining thick-skinned, because students do need educators’ best efforts.
“I know they need you,” Green said.
Green shared a Thurgood Marshall quote with the audience: “None of us got where we are solely by pulling ourselves up by our bootstraps. We got here because somebody — a parent, a teacher, an Ivy League crony or a few nuns — bent down and helped us pick up our boots.”
Green said this is important for the district’s teachers to remember.
“I am asking you to please provide a hand to someone who is trying to pick up their boots,” Green said.
Green said he believes with the right mentality, Fairfield County School District will improve.
“We are destined to go down this road from ordinary to extraordinary,” Green said.
Reach Ben Hohenstatt at 803-635-4016. Follow him on Twitter @WinnsboroHerald