Clovis Unified’s School Bell Rings True to Tradition

Leeann Errotabere, Clovis Unified Director of Purchasing, rings the Jefferson School Bell as students, staff, and parents look on. The ringing of the school bell signifies the opening of a new school year. (Photo JT Gomez, Clovis Roundup)

The long established custom of the ringing of the Jefferson Elementary school bell took place just before the first day of school for Clovis Unified on Monday August 22nd.

The school bell itself has been in use every year since 1907, according to Jefferson Elementary’s website, when it was first placed at the school. Its ringing signifies the beginning of a new school year for the entire district.

But with this year, not only will a new school year be brought into the light, but seven new principals, added safety protocols, and changes to school start times have been highlighted by the Clovis Unified School District as a turn in the page of the school district’s history. “We, our entire educational team, are ready to focus on providing our students with the knowledge and skills needed to propel them forward into a future full of potential and opportunity,” says District Superintendent Dr. Eimear O’Brien.

Deputy Superintendent Norm Anderson lamented the past few years and the hard times they have caused for the school district, its parents, and most importantly the students.

“All of us will hold that in our memory… I think we’re really focusing on today and the future if we can, because we know that there’s a lot of students and a lot of adults that have had some tough times in the last few years. So as much as I think that we can focus on today and meet the needs of where they’re at today and give a good hope for the future.”

Speaking about the “ringing in” of the new school year, Anderson stated, “I think for us it’s a tradition, we like to hold on to our traditions in Clovis Unified although we’re growing and expanding every year. We hold tight to the traditions that our district was built on and this is one of those events that you just never wanna miss.”

That tradition only lasted about fifteen minutes, as Principal of Jefferson Elementary, Andrew Bolls, introduced a student-led flag salute and National Anthem before advancing to the bell ringing itself.

Clovis Unified Director of Purchasing Leeann Errotabere was given the honor of ringing the bell for the 115th time in its history and guiding the 138th year of the ceremony overall.

“I was actually kind of shocked that they selected me! There’s so many hardworking people in the district and we just do what we gotta do for the kids so it was quite the honor.” With a laugh, Errotabere also mentioned that she came out the day before to give herself a practice run.

The bell ringing took place right outside of Clovis Unified Legend Floyd “Doc” Buchanan’s original office at Jefferson Elementary when the school district first unified in 1960. Buchanan was mentioned by Errotabere when speaking about the school bell tradition. “It’s a tradition throughout the district, they pick someone who they believe has shined through and showed the leadership that ‘Doc’ started in the district.”

The ringing of the Jefferson school bell gave way to kids back in classrooms for another school year as it has in continuance for its 138th year of celebration. Clovis Unified looks forward to the future of the 2022-2023 school year with optimism through the eyes of its leaders and rests their hopes on the students who will attend their schools both willingly and thoughtfully.

JT is a recent college grad with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication. He is mainly interested in sports and entertainment but covers a wide array of subjects. He currently writes for the Fresno State Baseball Dugout Club. JT looks forward to continuing his career at the Clovis Roundup and is excited to be working closely with a community that is very proud of its people.