Back to School: Clovis Unified kicks off new school year with Rally

Clovis High School students showing off their school spirit during the general session rally at the Savemart Center on Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2019. PHOTO BY RON WEBB/CUSD

Students, faculty and supporters of the Clovis Unified School District gathered Tuesday, Aug. 12 to celebrate the beginning of the 2019-20 school year at the annual General Session Rally at the Save Mart Center.

As school starts this week, hundreds packed the seats to celebrate while decked out with glow sticks and hand-made signs with the names of the respective schools.

Clovis West High School’s marching band performed on stage while representatives from each CUSD high school placed their school flags on stage.

This year’s rally featured some rather special guest appearances. Actor Constantine Pappas, a Clovis East grad who has played roles in musical productions such as “Les Miserables,” and “Carmen,” performed the song “This Is The Moment” from the production “Jekyll and Hyde,” much to the crowd’s delight.

After the standing ovation, several administrators spoke to the crowd about the excitement of the upcoming school year.

“Inspiring excellence, yes that is this year’s motto,” Associate Superintendent of School Leadership Norm Anderson said about the faculty and CUSD board members. “You all inspire us everyday, and we take this General Session day to celebrate you and all that you do for our amazing students.”

“When we talk about inspiring excellence, we’re talking about the work that each of you did this year to vault our schools into state and national recognition,” Anderson added.

Various faculty members received awards for their excellence in the classroom, the boardroom and wherever else their reach is felt.

After a performance from the Clovis East High choir, guest speaker Dr. Rick Rigsby delivered an inspirational speech to the crowd while at the same time thanking CUSD for inviting him.

“I want to thank a couple of folks. First of all, the governing board for this wonderful, wonderful visit and also the foundation for your support in getting me here,” Rigsby said.

Rigsby spent nearly a decade as a reporter for a news station in Chico and was an assistant professor at Fresno State before going to Texas A&M, where he taught speech communication as an assistant professor.

Rigsby told the students and faculty that the message of inspiring excellence meant a lot to him.

To wrap up the rally, Fresno-born violinist  played the anthem “We are the Champions” as the audience reveled in the musical artistry.