If smiles were any indication, it’s going to be a stellar school year at Lawsonville Elementary. After a long summer break, students filed in on Monday morning for the first day of school and made their way down halls of bright and cheery bulletin boards. Welcoming teachers met children, ranging from K-4 to fifth grade, in the classroom doorways before gently leading them to a new desk.
First-year teacher Lyndsay Gilbert handed her fifth graders an “About Me” page while classmates continued to trickle in.
Gilbert graduated from Lees-McRae College in May and currently lives in Surry County. She applied to teach in neighboring districts, but is thrilled to make her teaching debut in Stokes.
“I honestly hadn’t really considered here because it’s a little further away, but once they contacted me I felt like it was meant to be. One of my teachers at Lees-McRae taught in Stokes and she spoke very highly of the schools.”
The young educator always had aspirations to be a teacher.
“I loved my teachers growing up. They were wonderful,” she said. “I just really couldn’t see myself doing anything else.”
Gilbert primarily teaches science and her 28 fifth graders rotate classes throughout the day. The schedule is designed to help students transition into middle school next year.
Gilbert is one of 37 new teachers in the district that encompasses 6,182 students.
“The goal of our administrators and human resource department is to hire the best teacher. At times, the best teacher may be a veteran teacher and at times, the best teacher is a new teacher,” said Superintendent Dr. Brad Rice. “New teachers can bring an excitement in the classroom and new ideas. Many times, they can relate to the youth of today because it wasn’t that long ago when they were in school their selves. We welcome new teachers and are thrilled when they choose Stokes County as their home.”
Rice is anticipating another successful school year.
“I’m excited to learn who will win a major art award. I am excited to see who wins the spelling bee. I am excited to see if South Stokes quiz bowl team repeats as state champions. I’m excited to congratulate the next Morehead-Cain or Reynolds scholarship winner. With an excellent staff and an awesome student body, the sky is the limit and I can’t wait to see the results of everyone’s hard work.”
Stokes new superintendent is working alongside teachers to ensure each student is prepared for the next step by the end of the school year.
“Pre-K students need to be ready for first grade. Fifth graders need to be prepared for middle school. Seniors need to be prepared for life outside of our buildings. Since very few students know what they will be doing 30 years from now, they need to be prepared to communicate, think critically, work together to solve problems, and how to continue learning in an ever-changing world.”
On a personal note, Rice said he has three school-aged children and hopes he and fellow parents will understand how precious each day is.
“We only get one shot at the 2016-2017 school year. There will only be so many opportunities to read to our children. We have limited opportunities to help our children with their homework. We will not always have the opportunity to attend band or chorus concerts. We need to make our children our priorities and give them the most precious gift, the gift of time.”
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.