Local teachers gather for morning pep talk

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 5, 2010

NATCHEZ — The stewards of Natchez’s most valuable resource — its children — gathered at the Natchez Convention Center Wednesday morning.

Approximately 600 teachers from every school in Natchez attended the AT&T-sponsored second annual Partnership in Education Breakfast for coffee, donuts and pep talks.

Hosted by the Natchez Chamber of Commerce Education Committee, the program aims to improve the local education climate.

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“You have to promote what you have for everybody,” Chamber Education Committee Chair and Copiah-Lincoln Vice President Teresa A. Busby said.

“It’s all about the kids, and teachers get that,” Busby said.

Chamber CEO Debbie Hudson also addressed the crowd of teachers dressed in T-shirts of their school colors.

“The work you do goes without fanfare or critical accolade, but it is critical to the future of Natchez,” Hudson said.

Natchez Mayor Jake Middleton said teachers have a “thankless job,” but he reminded teachers of the impact they have on students who spend as much or more time with their teachers than they do with their parents.

“Keep in mind if you have a bad day that (some students) might have had a bad month,” Middleton said.

“You have the most important job in America.”

Although most speakers acknowledged that teaching is an underappreciated profession, Adams County Board of Supervisors President Darryl Grennell discussed the rewards of teaching.

Grennell said although teachers might not have high salaries and often endure tough times, they can benefit from special “bragging rights.”

As a biology instructor at Alcorn State University, Grennell said he has indirectly earned bragging rights from students he has taught whom have found success.

Grennell said a few teachers who taught him have left an unforgettable impression on him. Therefore, teachers can be driven by the opportunity to make permanent impressions on their students.

Grennell also offered examples of educational institutions that have recently worked together in Natchez.

He said Trinity Episcopal Day School representatives called Alcorn representatives when they were short-staffed a biology teacher. As a result, Alcorn instructors taught biology at Trinity last year, and both the instructors and students had a positive experience, Grennell said.

Grennell said schools should reach out to Co-Lin and Alcorn as community resources.

After the main breakfast ended, Natchez-Adams School District teachers stayed at the convention center for principals to introduce new teachers and staff at each school.

Most of the new additions to each school were transferred from another school within the district, so each name called out received plenty of cheers from their new school of employment as well as from their former school.

A highlight of the breakfast was an impressive rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner” sung by Frazier Primary Assistant Principal Ernest “Tony” Fields, which followed a prayer by Father David O’Connor and the pledge of allegiance by Father Brandt Dick.