Cartersville Middle School went above and beyond to show its volunteers and supporters how much they’re appreciated.
Principal Ken MacKenzie hosted the school’s first CMS Appreciation Luncheon for members of the school board, central office staff, mentors, school governance council, Parent Teacher Council and community Tuesday morning in the media center.
“Thank you so much for being here,” he said. “We just wanted to say thank you so much for what you do for our school — 1,122 students, middle school kids, tough group, but you know something? They love our school, and they love the support they get from adults, and this is what you do for them every day. CMS appreciates you.”
Guests enjoyed a lunch of lasagna, green beans, salad, fruit and dessert prepared by the school’s nutrition staff while listening to five of the middle school’s best musicians perform.
“I’m very, very proud of the students’ work this year,” Band Director Michael Elzey said as he prepared to introduce them. “We’ve really made it a goal to improve the band program here at CMS this year. We’ve increased enrollment, but our biggest thing is we increased our number of participants in regional and state honor bands this year. It’s the highest it’s been since I started here seven years ago, and I’m very, very pleased with that.”
The five students who performed were honor-band representatives who already have an impressive list of accomplishments attached to their names: seventh-grade clarinetists Madison Morrow and Brooklyn Heath, who performed a duet; eighth-grade saxophone player Chandler Schell, who played a piece he composed himself last summer for his grandfather, who died 10 days after hearing his grandson play it for him; eighth-grade percussionist Carter Mitchell, who played a four-mallet solo on the marimba; and eighth-grade baritone player Gordon Elzey, who performed a jazz piece from George Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess.”
“Mr. Elzey, a great group of kids,” Superintendent Dr. Howard Hinesley said. “I don’t know if you know this or not, but I graduated from Warren County High School, and I played the trumpet in the band, and I worked my way up to the No. 1 chair. But that was after the other trumpet player graduated. True story.”
Hinesley thanked the luncheon guests for supporting the school district.
“Those of you that are parents and big supporters of our school system, we couldn’t make it without you,” he said.
He also expressed his appreciation to School Nutrition Manager Chris Waits and her staff for preparing the lunch.
“I want to tell [Waits] in front of you and in front of the school board members how much we appreciate what she does,” he said. “It is a lot of work. Those of you that prepare meals for your families, three, four [people] every night, she does a thousand kids every day plus the faculty, breakfast and lunch. Not an easy task. And we expect her to balance the budget and make sure she’s not in the red. Not an easy job, but you do a great job.”
MacKenzie said he was “very happy” with the turnout for the luncheon, an event he carried with him to the middle school after hosting it around Valentine’s Day for several years as principal of the elementary school.
“Everybody I wanted to be here as far as school governance, PTC, community, mentors, central office staff, they were all here so I’m very happy with that,” he said, noting he wants it to be an annual event. “It’s just our way of showing our appreciation.”
School board member Tim Chason, who attended the event with fellow board members Kelley Dial, Travis Popham, Pat Broadnax and Louise Panter, said one of the school system’s greatest strengths is its “parental and community involvement.”
“The growth and development of students is due in large part to these individuals,” he said. “Our students, faculty and staff took the time today to thank those who mean so much to the education system for their support. This luncheon was also a means of highlighting the leadership and talent of the students at Cartersville Middle School. From the moment the guests entered the front door of the school to the time everyone left, the students were the main focus.”
Mersia Martin and Patty Dees, both from the Booth Western Art Museum, were thankful for the luncheon invitation.
“It was a real honor, and we really appreciated the recognition and the fact that they put on such a feast for us,” Martin said. “Really made me feel important.”
“I think any way that we at the Booth Museum can support the community, but then to have the community kind of recognize you in return, it’s always great for those partnerships that you’re building,” Dees said. “And for us to be able to see the students performing and the band today showcasing the arts in the schools, it’s very, very important to see that it’s thriving and it’s a part of the community so that’s always good to see.”
Seventh-grade math teacher Callie Palmer, who also is a member of the school governance council, appreciated being invited to the event.
“I think it’s good because it helps with the community getting together and showing that they really do support the school system,” she said.