Students honored and, hopefully, inspired for tests
by Eric Snyder --
Apr 12, 2006 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Teacher Todd Ross, doing his best Mel Gibson impression, explained that by studying for the upcoming state tests, TCHS students were "preparing for a battle."
Teacher Todd Ross, doing his best Mel Gibson impression, explained that by studying for the upcoming state tests, TCHS students were "preparing for a battle."
As Trigg County High School students filed into the gym last week for the annual program honoring students who score well during state testing, Kurt Mitchell and The Roaming Soldiers — a five-piece band fronted by high-school teacher Charles Lee — played an instrumental version of Jimi Hendrix’s “Hey Joe.”

Considering the assembly’s purpose of identifying by name those students who excelled in last year’s testing, it was an appropriate choice.

The assembly proper got off to a surreal start, as teacher Todd Ross — dressed like Mel Gibson’s character in Braveheart, down to the blue and white face paint (a truly exceptional costume, given that the school doesn’t have a drama department) —attempted to put in no uncertain terms the importance of the upcoming tests.

“We’re preparing for a battle,” Ross/Braveheart bellowed without need of a microphone.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re proficient, or a novice, Ross/Braveheart said, with a raised fist — “We all must fight!”

“True warriors,” he said, “fight for the highlands.”

Ross/Braveheart was referring to the new signs posted on campus showing a mountain climber (Trigg County Schools) climbing a mountain peak (the rankings of area schools).

Ross/Braveheart’s speech is the latest in an effort by the staff to get students to buy-in to the importance of state testing, which helps determine the school’s funding.

Kurt Mitchell and The Roaming Soldiers — covering an Eric Clapton cover song of Muddy Waters — continued with the drama during a soulful version of “Crossroads.”

A crossroads, Lee said, standing in front of an array of guitar pedals, “is what this test is.”

Before diving in to the process of reading the long list of students to be honored — if Monday’s assembly was a congregation, they were the choir — teacher Amy Breckel, admittedly gimmick-less, spoke to the amount of work teachers do for their students.

She recalled, while a cadet at the Air Force Academy, getting a letter from her high school pre-calculus teacher. It surprised her, for she had been a C student. Now a teacher herself, she attempted to explain to the students what it is that keeps teachers like herself coming to school in the mornings.

“Did you know,” she asked, that: teachers are often at school on Sundays, readying their lesson plans? That teachers have been witnessed in their pajamas making copies? That many teachers stay after school for more than an hour, without additional pay, before they make their 60-minute commute home? That, if you divide a teacher’s salary by the hours they’ve worked, it literally “comes down to cents on the hour”?

“Why do we do this?” Breckel asked. “It’s because we care.”

Now, she said, “it’s time for you all to give back a little bit.” And she said, herself embracing the competitive spirit, “get above Caldwell.”

For the rest of this story, please see this week's edition of The Cadiz Record.
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