“Children win because of what we do. We must speak vision into their lives.” – Convocation Keynote Speaker Ken Williams, Morehouse College Alumni, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of Unfold the Soul

By Keisha Roland

“It is great to be a Pine Tree Pirate” chants echoed as administrators, faculty and staff made their way to Pine Tree Independent School District (PTISD) auditorium. Coach Brent Simmons welcomed everyone in attendance. He emceed the convocation, providing jokes to get the crowd loose before a district-wide competition. This competition determined which campus or department had the most school spirit.
Birch Elementary School won bragging rights and the spirit stick. Still academic achievement for all students remains the goal.
Athletic Director Jody Berryhill urged the audience to exceed their own expectations for the school year. “As teachers, we teach children to reach their expectations,” said Berryhill. “But this year, we will exceed them. Everyone has a vital role and anything is possible.” Berryhill continued to reassure teachers that expectation can be met. “If you put your heart into it and never look back we will soar,” Berryhill said. “We are few, we are proud, we are Pine Tree.”
On the same note, Pine Tree Superintendent Dr. T.J. Farler expressed her excitement for the new school year and her students. “How awesome it feels to know we are excited for school to start,” said Farler. “We are a team and all of us are here to learn and grow. We will have a growth mindset towards every child, no excuses, every child matters, and teamwork is key.”
Keynote speaker Williams commended the faculty and staff for their passion. “With this type of energy your kids will win,” said Williams. He encouraged the district to embrace the growth mindset. Williams conveyed to the audience that anyone who encounters a child is a teacher. Therefore, people need to be positive influences and have high expectations for students. At the end, “No child has ever died from high expectations. We must inspire, empower and transform,” said Williams.