Thousands of Johnston County Public Schools employees marked the start of the 2018-2019 school year with a motivational event, Convocation 2018, at Five County Stadium, home of the Carolina Mudcats in Zebulon on Monday.
“Convocation is just a chance for everyone to get together. I call it a great big family reunion,” said Dr. Ross Renfrow, Superintendent of Johnston County Public Schools. “We do this so we can focus on our students and lay the foundation for a successful 2018-2019 school year.”
All JCPS staff members were encouraged to attend the convocation to celebrate the beginning of the school year. Monday was the first day that teachers and many faculty returned to their school after summer break. About 5,000 employees attended, officials said.
“This was so cool for me because I’m a product of Johnston County Public Schools,” said Nella Chamblee, a JCPS alumna and first year teacher at Corinth Holders High. “It was awesome to see everyone in the same place with the same goal and to have the superintendent inspire us to have a great school year.”
The theme for Convocation 2018 and the upcoming school year is “Each Student Counts, Every Moment Matters.”
“Everybody that was here today is a difference maker, and we can never take that for granted,” said Renfrow. “I hope our teachers never underestimate the impact, power, and role that they play on a daily basis in helping create citizens for our future.”
JCPS arranged a special reunion between distinguished alumni and a teacher of their choosing who made an impact on their lives. The teachers, or members of their family if they were unable to be in attendance, were able to hear a special video message recorded by each of the alumni.
“My favorite part of Convocation was hearing the stories from alumni on how teachers impacted their lives,” said Chamblee. “I hope that one day I’ll have a student up there talking about me.”
The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Renfrow, who is the first Johnston County Public Schools Superintendent to graduate from the district.
“When you step out there and see 5,000 people, teammates, and know that it’s your job to lead them in a positive direction each and every day, it humbles you,” said Renfrow.
North Carolina State Superintendent Mark Johnson also attended the event and delivered a special message to JCPS staff. At the event he promised to work toward reducing mandated testing, and to let teachers focus on teaching.
The convocation was fully funded by community business partners. Each of the sponsors were recognized at the event.