By Nikki Velarde, The Belton Journal
Killeen ISD held a spirited convocation Wednesday afternoon at the Bell County Expo Center to invigorate send off the students and teachers into the 2015/16 school year. About 6,300 Killeen ISD employees and students celebrated together featuring a parade of students and staff as well as a motivational speaker’s “real talk” about focusing on relationships.
Convocation began with a parade of student spirit groups representing each of the four high schools. The program was full of music, dance, video and words of encouragement. A choir combined of district staff and students sang musical pieces and even the high school dance teams and portions of the band performed.
Superintendent John Craft was introduced to the stage in a humorously scripted introduction where he noted that he decided to forgo wearing red spandex and cape so he could instead focus on the real superheroes.
Craft praised employee groups, including the bus drivers, monitors and mechanics who transport 12,000 students daily, the school nutrition staff preparing 50,000 meals a day and custodial and grounds staff caring for 6.2 million square feet of space and 1,250 acres.
He went on to recognize the paraprofessionals, assistants and aides and the 3,000 teachers “who significantly impact and forge the lives and the futures of our 43,000 students.”
“Each one is a valued member of our team who interdependently work together assuring our students receive the assistance and resources necessary to successfully complete our mission as a district,” said Craft. “The KISD team effort has and will continue to afford the opportunities for our students to attain not only academic successes, but also attain their goals and dreams in life.”
“It is for these efforts, I stand here today to say thank you,” Craft continued. “Thank you in advance for your service this year, your sacrifice, and for placing the needs of our students as your top priority. Thank you for going the extra mile and for making the extra effort for building resilience in your relationships with our students and with one another, while maintaining high expectations which ultimately makes a world of difference in the lives of our students.”
Motivational speaker Adolph Brown, a psychologist and university professor, made an appearance and entered the arena in “thug attire,” changing throughout his high-energy presentation into professional attire and finally into a graduation cap and gown.
Through an inspiring call to action, Brown thanked public school educators for recognizing the “tree is in the seed,” explaining his own violent childhood, turned around through the firm, caring hand of teachers. Growing up without a father in a family with no high school graduates, Brown said it was caring teachers who vaulted him to success. It was through their influence that he was able to earn his doctorate by the age of 26. “Believe in each other and believe in this district,” Brown urged.
Along the way, he urged KISD educators to “stay out of the basement” of mediocre teaching and to dwell in the balcony, forgiving quickly and accepting students and colleagues regardless of differences. With only days before the first day of school, Brown told educators to consider the “four F’s,” – to bring the fun, to be fair to all, to be firm and to have faith in students, colleagues and the school district.
“This is truly a great opportunity to come together as a district to celebrate the start of a great school year,” said Craft. “I am convinced that it is the overall team effort given each and every day that allows us to retain our vision to teach our students. So I welcome you to the 2015/16 school year, to the KISD team, and to convocation; a great celebration of a great history which prides itself on team success. I wish you all the very best this year.”