Mount Airy City Schools inspires greatness
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Mount Airy City Schools inspires greatness

Jun 16, 2023

Editor’s Note: Community Comment is a periodic column in The Mount Airy News featuring commentary from community leaders in Mount Airy and Surry County.

Mount Airy City Schools returned for its 128th year with an exciting convocation on August 11. We welcomed over 280 employees back and prepared for more than 1,750 students walking through our doors on the following Monday. We believe that our staff “inspire greatness” every day in the classroom as they focus on every child, every day.

We know that you can impact the world around you by helping each child reach their full potential. This starts in small actions of encouragement every day. Saying hello and calling students by name at the door is important. Making room at the lunch table so all students can join in is a simple act but crucial. Working to help all students belong makes a lifelong impact.

The convocation theme to inspire greatness begins with discovering your purpose. Staff and students were encouraged to find their purpose. Are you great at math, maybe music, or are you an encouraging person? Do you love reading, helping others, or complex science problems? Once you find your purpose then you need to grow that strength and come from the vantage point of your purpose. Purpose is really just discovering what you love to do and cultivate the skills in that passion. Once staff members find their purpose then they can also help students discover their purpose.

Every child has abilities that are unique to them. They have multiple avenues to use these skills, from using new technology tools, to learning a new language, to becoming problem-solvers. Maybe they love the arts or Leader in Me, AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination), Career Technical Education or many of the other programs Mount Airy City School’s offer. Every day, what you say, who you are, and what you do matters. In each classroom, whether it’s a core classroom, an elective classroom, a club, or activity, students are learning and growing skills that will last a lifetime.

We believe that you must trust yourself, trust others, and inspire greatness in word and deed. We want staff and students to have confidence in themselves and their abilities. We want them to see the creativity and beauty in others and we want to create a spark with both staff and students to find joy every day and realize every day matters. Your greatness isn’t based on your achievements. It isn’t based on your status or your ability to get things accomplished. Your greatness is how you affect others, how you help them reach their goals, and how you build inspiring relationships.

Mount Airy City Schools Teacher of the Year, Jesse Hiatt, shared that we can make a difference “every day in the life of a child.” Our impact years from now can be measured by small acts we do now. Mr. Hiatt challenges the staff to look beyond the surface of students to their story. Ask them how their weekend went. Talk to them about their hobbies and find out what their learning style is so we can make sure they are successful. Get to know your students.

Coach J.K. Adkins wants us to think of vibrations in the air similar to tuning forks. When one tuning fork vibrates it can affect something sitting nearby when they are on the same frequency. He challenged the group: “Figure out the frequency of your kids. They are all operating on different ones. You may have to recalibrate each day to figure out what makes kids tick.” He then spoke to the importance of discipline over motivation. “Every child has the desire to achieve, but it’s temporary. Discipline has to kick in to have the ability to push through. This is the greatest gift you can give a child and it’s taught through consistency.”

Jamie Hearl, a student at Mount Airy High School, talked about how teachers and coaches have made a big impact in her life. After sharing memories from each school she’s attended in the district she noted, “These memories only scratch the surface and may not be important to those I’ve mentioned but they have inspired me to become the best version of myself.”