Faculty, Friends, Family
On August 15th, 2016, the event in the Chisholm Trail High School auditorium felt like more of a late night variety show than an all-day, back-to-school affair for faculty and staff.
There were rousing performances by the school’s student band, cheerleaders, and dance troupe, and faculty members delivered an impressively produced, hour-long comedy show complete with original videos, live comedy, and exercises requiring audience participation.
When Dr. Barnes took the stage, she stood under white hot lights, looked out into the energized crowd and said, “At Chisholm Trail High School, we made the decision that we were going to be a family. You have taken the time to build relationships with your community, with your family, and with your students. And because of that, it has in turn caused the academics to come naturally.”
Later, so quietly you could almost hear a pin drop, Barnes said, “Our families are the key to our success. Our students deserve for all of us to be one. And you have done an amazing thing to get us there.”
Chisholm Trail House Principal Daniel Goodner manages over 700 students, and he’s in charge of mathematics, world languages, and the career and technology teachers. During the rally, he took to the stage to talk about the power of community. Goodner briefly shared how he was dismayed by violence around the world (particularly gun violence which had recently occurred in Dallas.) “If we were all friends — all 7 billion of us — maybe we’d stop hurting each other,” he said. Goodner then initiated a 15-minute Tweet-a-thon; the audience mingled, took selfies, and shared them on Twitter with #7bilBFFs (his attempt at getting all seven billion people on earth to commit to being best friends forever.)
“What we all try to do is build a community between the students and the faculty and then the community around us,” he said. “When we’re wrestling with students with discipline or attendance, they can come sit in my office and say ‘I need to talk to somebody.’ We’re really looking at trying to help them come up with skills they need to manage life. And, as Dr. Barnes always says, we work for them, they don’t work for us. We approach everything we do that way.”