Photo by Jeylin White
The Clayton County Educators Association held a party for school district employees and teachers at J.R. Crickets, in Jonesboro Thursday evening. The event was part of the week-long observance of American Education Week.
Several Clayton County School System employees packed the house at J.R. Crickets, a sports bar in Jonesboro, Thursday evening, in support of American Education Week.
As part of the annual observance, the Clayton County Educators Association (CCEA) joined the National Education Association (NEA) and its 3.2 million members across the nation in celebrating educators.
The week-long observance is being commemorated, this year, Nov. 14-20.
The CCEA sponsored the gathering on Thursday. The soiree –– dubbed the “big event” –– was strictly for school district teachers and other employees, said Sid Chapman, president of the Clayton County Education Association.
“It’s important to show our appreciation to teachers,” said Chapman. “They get so few rewards, so this event is a chance for them to eat food, dance, and get away from the pressures of the day.”
And getting away from the pressures of the day what was exactly what many had in mind, Thursday. Scores feasted on buffet food items provided by the restaurant and bobbed their heads, or moved in their seats to the beat of the Rhythm and Blues music that played in the background.
Theresa Byars –– who definitely seemed to be enjoying the food and music –– said she has been an educator in Clayton County for more than 13 years, and is also a member of the CCEA. Byars, currently an English Speaker of Other Languages instructor at Thurgood Marshall Elementary School, said it is important for her to support events sponsored by the organization, as well as to show support for the school system, and the hard work teachers do in the schools.
“This is a chance for me to meet other [CCEA] members and fellow teachers,” said Byars. “We don’t always get to meet other teachers, but events like this help ...”
Her daughter, Natrina Lawson, a paraprofessional at Mundy’s Mill High School, agreed. “I’m with mom,” said Lawson. “I just wanted to come out and support the teachers.”
Cephus Jackson, chief operations officer for the district, was in attendance to show his support. “We try to come out to all the events in support of teachers,” said Jackson, “The [teachers] do an excellent job.”
He added that, due to the sheer number of events held throughout the district, district officials and board of education members divide up the events among themselves, so they can show support for all of them. However, he said, all the officials were at Thursday’s celebration “in spirit.”
Chapman said he extended an invention to Superintendent Edmond Heatley, but that Heatley informed him he would not be in town. Although he could not attend this event, Chapman said Heatley did show his support at other CCEA events earlier in the week.
Edmonds Elementary School teachers, Tamika Crawford and Denise Weems, said they definitely believe there is a lack of recognition, in the county, for teachers. “We work very hard, and often, we are not recognized for what we do,” said Crawford. “Events like this makes us feel appreciated, and it’s nice to know someone cares.”
On another positive note for educators, in observance of American Education Week, the Clayton County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation recognizing the CCEA, Chapman said, for its contributions to the schools, teachers, and the students they serve.