BLANCHESTER — The 164th school year kicked off Monday morning in the Blanchester Local Schools District as the staff held their first meeting of the new school year with this year’s theme being, “There’s no place like home.”
Pastor Paul Crisp of the Blanchester Nazarene Church opened the morning with an invocation followed by Butch Whitaker leading the cadence as the Blanchester veterans posted the colors.
Chester Wilson, a 1940 Jefferson graduate and World War II veteran, led the district in the Pledge of Allegiance. Wilson is a recipient of two Purple Hearts, a Bronze Star and a Combat Infantryman Badge.
High school students Lydia Falgner and Ashleigh Osborn sang the Star Spangled Banner and led the district in the school’s Alma Mater.
The big surprise of the 2018 convocation came at the end when staff members performed for their colleagues a hilarious Wizard of Oz skit — as the cast of characters helped Dorothy get back to all the wonderful schools in Blanchester.
The skits starred Lillian Flora, the superintendent’s secretary, as the Wicked Witch; high school teacher Georgette McClain as Dorothy; high school/Laurel Oaks instructor Matt Pressler as the Wizard; Putman Elementary Principal Michael Snider as the Mayor of Munchinland; Paul Miller of the maintenance department as the Scarecrow; Assistant High School Principal Pandy McCarty as Willy the Wildcat; and Putman Elementary teacher Jared Rosselot as the Tin Man.
Immediately after convocation the Southern Ohio Educational Service Center led the district staff in a Cost of Poverty Experience. All staff members were given the opportunity to engage in the Cost of Poverty by taking on the role of a person who really existed and lived in poverty. Part of the experience included a bus tour of Blanchester and its surrounding communities.
Superintendent Dean Lynch said the convocation was a good example of what they try to do every day of the school year, “Laugh and Learn”.
“We all laughed and enjoyed the convocation to kick off the school year and then had a great learning experience understanding poverty,” said Lynch.
Also during the convocation, Jill Girard, and Chuck and Marsha Dunn were presented with the Blanchester Education Association Friend of Education Award.