As graduation approaches the Clarke County School Board acknowledged the accomplishments of graduating seniors as well as three retiring teachers.
Eagle Scout Adam Campbell opened by leading the School Board and meeting attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance. CCHS Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy commended Campbell, a graduating senior who will attend the University of Virginia this fall, as an Advanced Placement Scholar, Scholastic Bowl team member, Mountain Vista Governor’s School graduate, as well playing both tuba and trombone in the Clarke County High School Band.
When Murphy, also an Eagle Scout, light-heartedly questioned the absence of an “Order of the Arrow Brotherhood” sash Campbell sheepishly replied, “I think that there was a musical going on that week”.
School Board Student Representative, Stefani Bell was also recognized for keeping the School Board in touch with the Clarke County student body by regularly collaborating with school staff and students then providing suggestions for improved policies and procedures.
As has happened so often over the past academic year, Bell’s comments to the School Board carried wisdom beyond her age. “I’ve learned a lot from the students and administrators that I have worked with this year,” Bell told the School Board. “I’ve tried to remind every student that I’ve spoken with that their education is as much in their own hands as it is with our teachers and administrators.”
The School Board honored Bell’s service with a $50 gift certificate for the University of Florida bookstore. Bell plans to attend the University of Florida this fall.
Graduating seniors and band members, Daniel Borger and Kristi Bergner, told the School Board that participating in the CCHS Band was one of the most valuable experiences of their four year high school careers. The statement is given added weight from the academic accomplishments of the band’s graduating seniors; 15 of the 23 graduating seniors rank in the top 25% of the class academically. The average grade point average for the graduating seniors is 4.06. Given the group’s excellent grades it is not surprising that all 23 graduating band members will pursue college or professional training after graduation.
Dr. Murphy recognized three departing teachers, Nancy Specht, Clark Hansberger, and Cindy Newcomb, for their dedication and service to the students and Clarke County community. Murphy chose to include a light-hearted comment taken from the personnel file for each teacher.
Murphy said that after an initial job interview failed to gain a desired teaching position in CCHS’s English Department, Clark Hansbarger was asked if he had any skills that might be used in the Athletic Department. Hansbarger’s personnel file recorded his reply:
“I have participated in wrestling in the past, but I am afraid that my skills have wained through an absence of physical conditioning.”
Murphy said that an additional entry in the personnel file summed up Hansbarger’s dedication and commitment to his students; “I teach, period. I demand more of myself than any professional supervisor ever will.” Hansbarger joined CCHS in 1996.
Murphy noted that Cindy Newcomb’s personnel file has the number “6,600” written on the upper, left-hand corner. The number was Newcomb’s starting salary when she joined Clarke County Public Schools 40 years ago. Murphy also noted that Newcomb had spent each of the previous forty years teaching in the same classroom.
Murphy thanked Newcomb for her incredible nurturing of Clarke County’s young people over the years.
Murphy pointed out that by the time Nancy Specht joined Clarke County Public Schools in 1975 the starting salary had risen from $6,600 to $8,500. Specht threw her hands over her face in good-natured embarrassment when Murphy revealed that Specht, an English teacher, misspelled the word “language” on her initial CCPS job application. Murphy said that the error had been circled in “red” by a member of the school system’s personnel department.
“How can that be?!” Specht exclaimed. “I’m the English queen!”
Murphy thanked Specht for the outstanding teaching, coaching and achievement that she has brought to Clarke County.