Drums, hula hoops, and fighting words: Lynchburg school employees kick off year with a friendly competition

Lynchburg & Central Virginia News

LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — While American athletes are competing for the gold in Tokyo, teachers and staff of Lynchburg City Schools held their own Olympic-themed convocation.

Groups of employees competed against each other on Tuesday, Aug. 3. It was meant to be a bonding experience as they head into their second year of caring for students in a pandemic, in a combination of school spirit and fighting words.

“Look, the Paul Laurence Dunbar Middle School for Innovation is the best middle school,” said Dani Rule, the school’s principal, “no bias at all, so I hope we have good attitudes when we beat them.”

When Rule threw down the gauntlet, WFXR News asked the staff of other schools if they are up for the challenge.

“The motto at their school is, raise the bar, no excuses,” said Matthew Mason, Principal of Sandusky Middle School, in response to Rule. “At Sandusky, you don’t have to raise the bar if you’re already there, so hopefully they’ll have a good competition, but losing is kind of what they do over there. We’re going to win today.”

“Oh Sheffield Elementary all day long. You’re going down, Dunbar!” said Stephanie Rader, a fifth-grade teacher at Sheffield. “My son goes to Dunbar. I cannot let him know that I just did that,” she added with a laugh.

Teachers and staff competed in Olympic themed games.

“Today is all about comradery. It’s about fun. It’s about games,” said Lynchburg City Schools Superintendent Dr. Crystal Edwards. “So we just want to take a moment to celebrate all of our staff for the hard work that they did last year and get excited and ready for the upcoming school year.”

It’s a reset as they head into another tough year of teaching, transporting, feeding, and generally caring for students through a pandemic.

“I think it’s really good to all be together and all see each other, mask or not, and I think that it’s going to create a lot of spirit for LCS,” said Bri Bernard, a behavior coach at Bass and Sandusky Elementary Schools.

Bernard also responded to Dunbar’s principal’s friendly challenge, saying, “I feel really excited, and I know that Sandusky and Bass are the best, and sorry Mr. Rule, but we’re going to get you guys today!”

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