By Lindsay Starr Platt
Despite the rain hundreds of teachers, administrators and faculty members of Belton ISD convened at the Bell County Expo Center. Belton ISD employees were greeted with coffee, doughnuts and fruit before heading to the 2016 Convocation. As they made their way around the venue getting a chance to meet new teachers and say hello to fellow employees they rarely see.
The theme of Belton ISD 2016 Convocation is “We are Tigers”. Heads of each department and campus gave short speeches and reflected on what it means to be a Belton Tiger.
“Inside each of our campuses, there are unique Tigers,” said Jill Ross, Principal, Belton New Tech @Waskow High School. “We are all Tigers.”
Principals talked about how students would walk into the campus and feel so welcomed, that they didn’t even look back at the worried parent that brought them in for their first day. The head of transportation told about how bus drivers have a collection of hats and gloves, when little heads and hands are naked and cold. Stories of how a campus rallied around a young boy as he battled cancer and the child with Down Syndrome wanted to read and Belton ISD helped him become a reader.
“We are all Tigers,” said High Point Elementary School, Principal. “And we all come together to take care of our own.”
One by one as they took to the podium they spoke of triumphs, goals, collaborations and what touched their hearts at Belton ISD. Leon Heights Elementary School talked about their annual end of year talent show and Lakewood Elementary School told about their campus as a “No Place for Hate”, where all students feel valued.
“I love all Tigers! Basketball Tigers, baseball Tigers, tennis Tigers… and of course football Tigers. We have 2,000 student athletes and we are all Tigers,” said Bob Shipley, Athletic Director, Belton ISD.
Randy Pittenger, Belton ISD, Board of Trustees, President told attendees they are going to make a difference to a lot of kids. Pittenger congratulated the community and thanked everyone involved for helping 1,400 kids get school supplies from Project Apple Tree this year.
“Our kids need opportunities today, not tomorrow. We have to challenge our students and expect them to excel not for “just good enough”, but to do great things,” said Pittenger. “If you have high expectations, high achievement will follow.”
Belton announced they will be playing longtime rivals Temple in a football game this year. Enrollment in Belton ISD is over 11,000 this year and staff will strive to make a difference in each student.
“Today, I feel excited about the new year, just like I did when I started teaching 27 years ago,” said Dr. Susan Kincannon, Superintendent, Belton ISD. “Our diversity is our strength Being a Tiger is part of something special, everyone belongs. There is a place for every student here as a Tiger. Each student is valued and important all eleven thousand of them.”