Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
On Friday, the gym at Lanier County Primary School was full of students, teachers, administrators, staff and parents celebrating the often uncelebrated achievements of pre-K through second grade through a program called Renaissance.
"Renaissance is a program that is set up to promote motivating the child to have good behavior and good grades," said LCPS Kindergarten teacher Nan Fletcher, who led the entertainment portions of the pep rally.
Aside from promoting good grades, Renaissance is about celebrating achievements of all levels.
"It is all about promoting good, healthy, self-esteem in children," said Fletcher.
The pep rally gave awards for art, writing, music, P.E., and most importantly, the most improved student.
"When they improve, we try to recognize that," said Fletcher.
Whether a student rises to a C, goes to an A, or just gives 110 percent at everything they do despite the outcome, the teachers and staff at LCPS are all about making sure each and every student knows that they are important, they are loved and they are fantastic.
"We are helping these children feel good about themselves," said Fletcher.
In a society that lacks parental involvement and places children in extremely competitive situations, schools like LCPS and a community like Lanier County know the benefits of working hard to recognize talents of all sort and achievements of all measures.
"Renaissance promotes self-esteem for students and teachers," said LCPS principal Terrene Richardson. "And the students really enjoy it."
With a dedicated Renaissance promoter and kindergarten teacher like Charlotte Wainwright, it's no wonder why the kids all strive to be Renaissance kids.
"She gets on the intercom every single day and she tells those kids that she wants them to be a Renaissance kid and that means to try to be their best at whatever they do," said Fletcher.
Wainwright enthusiastically led the pep rally's events from a microphone as the Lanier County High School boy's basketball team helped the students play basketball and slam-dunk into hula-hoops (a game that was deemed tied by all in attendance), dance and so much more.
"It's really great that the basketball players are putting themselves out there like that," said LCPS assistant principal Gaile Patten.
Aside from promoting a plethora of achievements, the students and staff were also celebrating the 100th day of school on Friday, which aside from recognizing many days of educational excellence, gave them another reason to add more crowns, hats and glitter to the sea of 600 children that they split up into two pep rallies.
"We just believe that love is the key to helping these children," said Fletcher.