KidTalk, TeacherTalk Winners Inspire Teachers at Opening Day Celebration

During the Cobb County School District’s Opening Day Event celebration at McEachern High School July 24, Fair Oaks Elementary School fourth grader and KidTalk winner Mayrin Hernandez gives teachers five tips on how teachers can change the world.

“We need to spread more positivity around our school, community and especially the world. I believe positivity spreads. It can begin with you!” That’s the first tip Fair Oaks Elementary School fourth grader Mayrin Hernandez gave teachers during the Cobb County School District Opening Day Event for teachers. More than 9,000 teachers and staff at 113 of the District’s schools watched the Opening Day program  during a live broadcast from McEachern High School on July 24 to welcome everyone to the first day back following the summer break.

Including Mayrin, three CCSD students took the stage to inspire teachers for the new school year with their KidTalk speeches.

The auditorium filled with educators rose to their feet to applaud Mayrin’s spirited speech on how teachers can help change the world by being leaders.

In addition to spreading positivity, the KidTalk elementary level winner told the educators to give more and to lead by example.

“Do something nice for your neighbor, and they might possibly follow your lead,” she encouraged.

Mayrin cautioned the teachers not to judge people from the outside, but instead “consider their character and the way they treat others.”

The KidTalk middle school winner’s speech embodied Mayrin’s fifth tip: Stand Up for What You Believe In.

The Floyd Middle School eighth grader Zoi Ladipo pitched her vision of a foundation to help the homeless. She described how the homeless center would provide education resources and allot residents a certain amount of time in the program. When detailing how the facility would operation, Zoi even gave the curfew time she would set for residents.

She asked the thousands of teachers watching to consider volunteering to help make her dream for the Homeless Hearts Foundation come true.

Demonstrating to the teachers how one student is already making a difference around the world, Hillgrove High School Logan Mossor shared his passion for making holiday cards for U.S. service members.

Inspired by a VFW advertisement about students making holiday cards for the troops, the high school level KidTalk winner began hand drawing cards himself. Following his example, his friends joined the card-making campaign. Together they made more than 400 cards for the troops. But, delivering the cards to the troops around the world via Operation Gratitude wasn’t enough for Logan. He wanted to do more.

“I decided to go to the Hillgrove Holiday Market and sell each card for $1,” Logan explained to the teachers. “The customer that paid the $1 would write a heartfelt and moving message inside the card. Then, we would have $1 to send out to a military organization, as well as a personalized holiday card to give to Operation Gratitude.”

During the first two years of his holiday card campaign, Logan raised $430 for organizations that support the troops. He told the educators he is not stopping his pursuit to bring joy to the troops. He’ll be back at the Hillgrove Holiday Market this year, and he also had a booth set up at McEachern for teachers to join his holiday card campaign.

The kids were not the only ones with inspiring words for the teachers. With a live orchestra performance on stage, Paula Krupiczewicz’s students helped her demonstrate how she is making a difference in the lives of special needs students through her United Sound club at North Cobb High School.

“I believe all students, even students with special needs, should have the opportunity to participate in music, not just observe, but provide an authentic contribution to a performance,” said the North Cobb Orchestra teacher and inaugural TeacherTalk winner.

The United Sound music club pairs special needs students with student mentors.

“The patience and creativity that these mentors have with the new musicians is really amazing to watch,” added Krupiczewicz.

She encouraged CCSD band and orchestra teachers to follow her example and launch United Sound clubs at their schools too.

The Opening Day Event celebration also included new school year pep talks from District leadership.

Superintendent Chris Ragsdale kicked off his welcome back speech to teachers with two words: “Thank you.”

“What you do in the classroom each and every day impacts our future,” Superintendent Ragsdale told the teachers. “Teaching should be the most revered profession. No other organization can have the impact that teachers do.”