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'The EMS ISD Difference' debuts at Convocation 2019

The lights dimmed, the crowd quieted, then the room came alive in excitement with the opening line of Convocation 2019: "Live from the Chisholm Trail high school gym, this is The EMS ISD Difference with Jimmie Chadwell!"

More than 2,500 EMS ISD employees gathered on Monday, August 12, 2019, in the competition gym at Chisholm Trail High School for the annual back-to-school Convocation program. Each year, all faculty and staff meet under one roof to learn about key areas of focus for the district and celebrate the start of the new school year. This year's talk show-themed event was hosted by Superintendent, Dr. Jim F. Chadwell, and Shawn Bell, EMS director of Fine Arts.

The program opened with the Saginaw AFJROTC presenting the colors and a staff ensemble performing the National Anthem. Chadwell shared welcome remarks then went into the audience to talk to a few staff members and see how ready they are for the new school year before debuting a new back-to-school video, "We're Ready!"



Bell then led the crowd in a lively campus and department roll call and Chadwell shared a few "thank you notes" with the audience. He then called up his first guest, School Board President Steven G. Newcom, who shared stories and inspiration about the family culture of the district and announced a salary increase for all employees.

Steve Newcom shares remarks during convocation during interview with Dr. Chadwell

The next guests were students, sixth-grader Emory Eldredge of Marine Creek Middle School and junior Katy Grace Stephenson of Chisholm Trail High School, who discussed the personalized opportunities in both academics and extracurricular options that students have available to them in the district. Following their interviews, the students played a buzzer game with Chadwell to test their knowledge of the EMS ISD Difference. The students wonout over Dr. Chadwell, with the winning question asking about the district hashtag and both students answering in unison, "EMS Proud!"

Following the game, Stephenson, who also is a member of the Chisholm Trail Chorale, sang a powerful solo performance of "Blue Bayou."

Students Katie Grace Stephenson and Emory Eldredge discuss personalized opportunities during interview with Dr. Chadwell       Student Katie Grace Stephenson sings Blue Bayou

Chadwell's final guest was retired kindergarden teacher Fran Poteet, who taught at Saginaw Elementary School -- in the same classroom -- for 40 years. She shared funny stories of her years teaching kindergarten and talked about how the family culture in EMS ISD is what makes the district and the community so special. She closed with insightful words of advice for new teachers, encouraging them to laugh often and to rely on their colleagues around them for help and support, because they are their new family.  

Retired EMS ISD teacher Fran Poteet being interviewed by Jimmie Chadwell  

The program closed with an emotional performance of "You Have Made A Difference" by a combined varsity choir representing Boswell, Chisholm Trail, and Saginaw high school choir students. The performance included solos by Stephenson and Creekview Middle School 7th grader Jack Horton.  

Overall, it was a fun and inspiring afternoon! Local businesses that participated in the Community Business Fair prior to Convocation also provided numerous door prizes, which were given away live throughout the talk show program. At the end of the day, EMS ISD employees left Convocation inspired, energized, and ready to welcome more than 20,000 students to school on Monday morning! 

We would like to give a special thank you to the following groups, departments, and individuals:

Performance Groups
  • EMS ISD Vocal Staff Ensemble 
  • Combined student choir from Boswell, Chisholm Trail, and Saginaw high schools, with soloists Katie Grace Stephenson (Chisholm Trail High School junior) and Jack Horton (Creekview Middle School seventh-grader)
Talk Show Guests
  • Steve Newcom, School Board President 
  • Emory Eldredge, Marine Creek Middle School sixth-grader 
  • Katie Grace Stephenson, Chisholm Trail High School junior 
  • Fran Poteet, Saginaw Elementary School Retired Teacher
Talk Show Personalities
  • The Host: Dr. Jim F. Chadwell, Superintendent 
  • The Sidekick: Shawn Bell, Director of Fine Arts 
  • The Musical Leader: Jason Walker, Creekview Middle School Choir & Theatre Director 
Event Preparations & Technical Assistance
  • Chisholm Trail High School custodial staff 
  • EMS ISD Maintenance Department 
  • HCTC Media Technology teacher Jorge Garza & students
  • EMS ISD Communications Department
  • EMS ISD Educational Services Department