by Jen Gennaro, Editor
This morning, all ZCSD teachers and staff gathered in the Visual and Performing Arts Center for an Employee Convocation. The Zachary High School band played as people filed in to the auditorium and overflow area. For the handful of teachers new to the district, the balloon arches adorning the stage, the state-of-the-art lighting and audiovisual, and the caliber of speakers surely made a great first impression.
Recent graduate and 2022-2023 student of the year Lucy Yoes gave a powerful welcome speech. “I witnessed firsthand the tireless effort you put into creating a nurturing environment,” she said. “Congrats on being part of the best district in the state–and I’m not just talking about test scores. Your contributions are valued by the entire community. The impact you have on lives extends far beyond…I hope you find fulfillment and joy in all you do,” Yoes said.
Next, School Board President David Dayton introduced Dr. Gaynell Young, the longest-ranking member of the school board, who also earned her doctorate degree last week. As she came on stage, she led the attendees in a beautiful prayer, and all remained standing for the singing of the national anthem led by the JROTC.
Dayton took the stage again for a brief speech, reflecting on the past 20 years as an independent school district. That’s right–this year marks two decades of the Zachary Community School District, and Dayton, Dr. Young and a handful of others have been here since the beginning. “We have been successful because this community gathers around each other. When we see one person down, we pick them up,” he said.
“Everybody is vital to this organization and this team. This is who we are,” David Dayton, School Board President.
Finally, new superintendent Ben Necaise took the stage to speak about the district’s North Star–the belief that we put children first. As a slide deck with school photos played in the background, Necaise spoke on how all in the district build on our success together through daily actions and decisions made in alliance with this mission. Necaise showed a photo from his 2004 deployment to Baghdad, where his unit made 24-hour patrols. Once he was back in civilian life, teaching history in the classroom, he had a realization. “At the end of the school day, I was more mentally tired and emotionally drained from teaching class all day than my toughest days in the military!” he said.
The presentation gave way to a professionally produced video highlighting the academic, athletic and creative achievements and endeavors that take place here in Zachary schools, eliciting cheers and maybe a few proud tears from the audience. The video is available on the district’s website and social media channels.
Thank you for all you do, ZCSD teachers and staff! Looking forward to celebrating 20 years of Zachary Schools!