Rain poured down, but spirits were anything but moistened as U.S. Jones Elementary School students, professors, staff, parents and supporters Thursday hosted a surprise farewell celebration for retiring principal Leon Clark.The 560 trainees were surprisingly quiet up until they screamed"Surprise! "as Clark got in the fitness center. With the trainee band playing, pep team dancing and cheerleaders leading screams in Clark's honor, the outgoing principal was led on stage where his spouse Susan, boy, daughter and households had gathered with a host of other well-wishers.
"Yes, I was totally surprised," Clark told the crowd.As he indicated his family, an emotional Clark informed his trainees, "You become part of my household, too."Trainees representing each class presented letters to Clark thanking him and wanting him well. Connected to each letter was a blue or white balloon.Assistant principal Tracy Stewart, who helped organize the occasion, stated there had actually been secret meetings, secret e-mails and great deals of other secrets for the previous numerous months as the faculty and personnel prepared the surprise.Stewart told the trainees," If we can pull this off, it will be the best surprise in history." Clark's wife, Susan, and their kids Lindsay and Brad Bendeck from Alpharetta, Ga., and Reggie and Bethany Clark from Mitchell, Ind., and their households also were on hand for the event.Principals from the other DCSS campuses took Clark to lunch to obtain him off school. As quickly as he left, some 50 students spent half an hour setting up the Leon Clark Hall of Popularity in one of the corridors. They posted pictures of Clark produced by each of the trainees in the school.Originally strategies were to have the band, cheerleaders and pep squad lead a parade in front of the school. The rain, however, forced a modification of plans at the last minute.At a reception in the school library, Clark and guests were treated to an amusing video including photos of Clark throughout his academic career. It likewise included pictures of each class with suggestions on how Clark ought to spend his retirement-- whatever
from beach bum to mayor. "Education belongs to my life, "he informed the guests."That's simply who I am."Clark has actually been with Demopolis City Schools for eight years, the first four as principal of Demopolis High School prior to moving to USJ.