By Alexandra Hedrick, Item Staff Writer
The Picayune Item
The morning started with breakfast and music provided by Godspeed 3. Afterwards, Superintendent Alan Lumpkin addressed the group of more than 500. Each table in the cafeteria had a sunflower seed in a small container. Lumpkin asked the staff to think of those sunflower seeds as students.
“God is dropping a seed in your class or school bus every day,” Lumpkin said.
He spoke about how each seed needs soil, food and air to grow. Lumpkin compared those three necessities to what a teacher must provide for a student to grow. He asked each teacher to think about what environment he or she provides for students and how that effects each child’s growth.
At one point, Lumpkin emotionally said, “I appreciate and love you and am so thankful that my seeds, my daughters are in your school district because you are their soil.”
After Lumpkin’s opening speech, with “Eye of the Tiger” playing in the background, some of the teachers from the district performed a boxing ring skit to present the district’s Quality Distribution Index scores from last school year. Assistant Superintendent Nina Guthrie acted as ring girl for the boxing match. Kimberly Alford, curriculum coordinator, said the district could not release scores to the public until Sept. 13.
Staff from the lower elementary, upper elementary, junior high, high school and transportation department then competed in dance-off. Four Pearl River County “celebrities” were asked to judge the competition. Judges included Danny Boudreaux, the youth pastor for Union Baptist Church; T.J. Burleson, the school district business administrator; Joe McClinton, a local business owner and Alexandra Hedrick, a reporter with the Picayune Item.
The staff of the junior high won the competition with a score of 39 points. Lumpkin and Alford presented the group with a banner to hang at the school declaring them the dance champions.
“If they teach as well as they dance, my kids will be smarter than me,” McClinton said at the competition.
Lumpkin closed the session with a letter from Burlon Reed, who served as assistant principal for the lower elementary school last year, that he wrote for the staff of the Pearl River County School District before he passed away on June 28.
In the letter, Reed said, “I hope all goes well with them, as they have been so good to me and my family.”
The first day of school for grades K-12 begins on Thursday.