August 21, 2015 - More than 600 educators from across Shelby County are “Fired Up” and ready to begin the school year after a pep talk from Aric Bostick, former teacher turned motivational speaker, who spoke at the John D. Windham Civic Center Wednesday.
Dr. Tammy Lemoine, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at Center ISD, began organizing the event in February when she contacted administration from Shelbyville, Joaquin, Tenaha, Excelsior and Timpson for support.
“All the schools said the same thing. Everybody just needed something different, so we all went in together,” Lemoine said. “Without the help of everybody, it wouldn’t have been possible.”
Virginia Fischer, a teacher for 30 years and a Center Roughrider for the last 3, was inspired by Bostick’s stories from his troubled past and the teacher that motivated him to rise above his circumstances.
“It’s very personal,” Fischer said. “He went back to his childhood and talked about how it wasn’t ideal, but it’s not who he is. It’s the idea of ‘turn it loose, quit taking it personally, and move forward and be who you choose to be.’
“In the classroom, hopefully I can let these kiddos turn loose of their junior high, ‘I can’t do English, I can’t do math, I can’t write’ mentality and turn them into writers, turn them into dreamers, turn them into thinkers, and let them release that. It’s in there. Let’s locate and perfect those skills.”
Lori Corbello, who has taught for 3 years, but is a brand new Roughrider, loved Bostick and his encouraging message for starting another year.
“As a teacher, you don't know what baggage each student is already coming to school with; be considerate and keep your perspective through the most trying days,” Corbello said. “Regardless of what students may say, let it bounce off of you!”
With school starting on Monday, August 24th, Aric Bostick’s pep talk came at a great time for the faculty and staff of Shelby County.
“It exceeded my expectations,” Lemoine said. “I went to several campuses yesterday at open-houses and different things, and almost everybody had something positive to say. I just wanted people to be engaged and laugh and feel better after they left than they did when they came in. Because what he says is so true.”
Article and all photos by Sydney Brookshire