In years past, the Daviess County Public Schools district has welcomed staff back on the day prior to school starting with an opening day ceremony featuring choirs and bands made up of local school students. There have also been former students who served as guest speakers and shared the impact that local teachers had on their lives. This year’s opening day ceremony on Tuesday featured a different form of entertainment encouraging the district’s teachers to “Rise Up” and “Be the One” to believe in DCPS students.
Teachers, bus drivers, maintenance workers and district staff members entered the Sportscenter Tuesday morning to sounds originating from DJ Shea’s turntable and were entertained by DCPS students who performed a choreographed dance by Musick Studios.
Apollo High School student Jalen Harris and Daviess County High School student Sophie Jagoe served as the morning’s masters of ceremonies, while the most powerful student presentation came in video form.
Various students held cardboard signs displaying an emotional series of “silent testimonies” from DCPS staff members who rose above challenging circumstances in their childhoods. Each sign was turned to reveal how these staff members overcame adversity as a result of the support, encouragement and compassion they received from teachers, bus drivers, cafeteria workers and other education professionals over the course of their lives. The final sign of the video was held by the morning’s guest speaker — inspirational author and viral sensation — “rapping dad” Derek Clark.
Clark shared the emotional testimony of a childhood filled with abuse and multiple foster home placements, which led him to being labeled as an “unadoptable child.”
“They said I wasn’t adoptable,” Clark said. “Every kid is adoptable. Every kid deserves love. Every kid deserves a family…You don’t have to share DNA to make a difference in the life of a child.”
He then appealed to teachers and staff, adding that they did not know what children had experienced before walking into the classroom and how those experiences might translate into classroom behavior issues.
“The key is to build a connection and relationship with a child,” Clark said. “This makes them feel safe, secure and respected. That’s what educators are all about — never limiting the potential of a child.”
Superintendent Matt Robbins concluded the program by encouraging staff members to “Rise up” and “Be the One” in a child’s life in the 2019-2020 school year.