A fresh start

Published 9:21 am Saturday, August 23, 2014

There’s something about the start of a new school year that reeks of promise and optimism. I recall that when I was in school there was something about a new three-ring binder, folders, spiral notebooks and a fresh box of #2 pencils that even gave a chronic underperformer like me hope that this would be the year it would all turn around. And in truth, no matter what happened the year before, the first day of school is a fresh start. It’s an opportunity to create new habits and achieve unprecedented levels of success. It’s yet one more chance to reach one’s full potential. And in order to take advantage of a fresh start, a new beginning, it’s imperative to begin anew with a positive attitude and an enthusiasm for the task ahead.

Of course, this applies not only to students, but to parents, teachers and administrators as well.

I had the privilege of attending Southampton County Public School’s opening convocation this week, and the enthusiasm in the room was palpable. Teachers and administrators gathered in the auditorium of Southampton High School to commemorate not just the beginning of a new school year, but to celebrate the fact that it was yet another opportunity to have a lasting and meaningful impact in the life of a child. I left having no question that each of the educators in the room was dedicated to doing just that.

The same day, Franklin City Public Schools’ staff members met for a similar rally and then, under the guidance of new division Superintendent Willie Bell, took to the streets of Franklin to reach out to a community thirsting for a fresh start. Bell, who has already displayed a fresh and positive approach in his short time on the job, along with the dozens of staff members who made visits with him, have given all of us reason for a renewed sense of optimism as the new year unfolds.

Running an efficient and successful school system is not easy. Neither is spending hours on lesson plans and days on end preparing children to face life and pass a series of mandated standardized tests. And, if memory serves, the students’ job of learning and achieving isn’t a piece of cake, either.

But all involved, from teachers to parents to administrators and students, have a brand new opportunity to make this the best school year yet. It’s the beginning of a new school year, a fresh start once again. My wish for you all is to make the most of it.

TONY CLARK is the associate publisher of The Tidewater News. He can be reached at tony.clark@tidewaternews.com.