It’s the time of the year again when CNHS teachers head to their classrooms to prepare to welcome their new students. It seems like yesterday, the Class of 2022 was walking across the stage to receive their diplomas, and yet Thursday, August 4, the Class of 2023 entered school for the first time as seniors.
The beginning of the new year brings planning for new school supplies, new clothes, and new teachers. This year, CNHS welcomed 14 new teachers, and the Bull Dog Alumni Association played a major role in making them feel like a part of the family from their first day.
David Clark, Principal at Columbus North, said, “Each year, we begin with great anticipation of what exciting educational triumphs we will see. The new staff at CNHS is transitioning into their place as caring and dedicated professionals. They bring great experiences with them.”
He added, “Their mission around providing the best educational experiences for their students is evident in their interactions with staff, students, and parents. We are blessed to have them join our team.”
Joining the faculty for the 2022–2023 school year are:
Maria Sanchez Cisneros
The Bull Dog Alumni Association helped spread out the welcome mat for the new teachers and provided gift bags with CNHS swag. They included an extra large Bull Dog travel mug for those days when a little extra caffeine might be their friend, a Bull Dog blue t-shirt to wear on special spirit days at school, gift cards that included a walking tour of downtown Columbus for those new to the area, a gift card to YES Cinema and a $100 gift card to Amazon for those little extras they may need for the new year.
According to Alumni Board member Jacob Martin, who was instrumental in organizing the gift bags, the project’s overall objective was to show all CNHS teachers they are appreciated for everything they do for the students. “All teachers walked away with a shirt, Bull Dog travel mug, and a tote bag. Our new teachers, however, received the extra items to welcome them to the Bull Dog family.”
He added that the energy in the room was amazing, and the excitement for the school year to start could be felt by all. “From what we’ve heard through other staff, the gifts were appreciated, and it added to the welcome back/welcome to the building energy.”
In his welcome speech, Jacob spoke briefly about the Alumni Association grant process, encouraging all teachers to apply or reach out with questions. “Grants are awarded through donations by former alumni and help pay for expenses not included in the budget. In the past, we have provided funding for teacher conferences, guest lecturers, and field trips and even covered the expense of a substitute teacher. We want more applications and hope to find ourselves asking how we will get through all of them!”
The Bull Dog Alumni Association includes members who either attended Columbus High School or Columbus North High School. It is also open to faculty, staff, parents and fans as stories, memories and photos about past graduates are posted daily along with current events at the school. Community news is also popular for those living elsewhere longing to hear information about their hometown. The Association is led by Pete King, President, and Hedy George, Executive Director of the organization.
George believes that events honoring and welcoming teachers are great opportunities for veteran teachers and new ones to get to know each other and bond as a team of professionals. “The Alumni Association has been an integral part of our community since becoming an organization in 2009. We work to support both the school and the community,” she said.
Pete King also believes the group is vitally important to the community. “We need to make sure that Columbus understands the critical role that education, as an institution, plays in all the work we do here.”
King continued, “The Bull Dog Alumni Association not only works to help teachers but also offers student scholarships. We earn money by organizing fundraisers. We’re here merely to add to, supplement, and help in ways which the public sector may not be able to do.”
The Alumni hope to continue to do many things in the future and have set several long-range goals. George added, “We have to make sure that this organization continues to thrive and that goals are being met. The Association has added hundreds of new members through regular newsletters and online communications. This will be reflected in the publication of the newest edition of the Bull Dog Alumni Membership Directory, which will be available later this year.”
To become a member, simply log onto www.columbusnorthalumni.org. It is free to join and always will be as a service to graduates, fans, staff, faculty, and other interested parties. The Facebook Page is listed as “Bull Dog Alumni Association.”
Alumni Board member Barbara Handt, a veteran teacher in the English Department at North, shared memories of her first day as a rookie teacher. “My first day here at North, I was welcomed back by so many people since I am an alumna. I could hardly keep track of all of them. For some reason, I remember clearly that my former math teacher, Mrs. Annette Hungerford, welcomed me warmly and said how happy she was that I was working at North. That meant a lot to me because she was a fantastic teacher, and I greatly respected her.”
She further explained that everyone in her department was also very welcoming. Some that she remembers in particular who helped her through the first year were Ms. Debbie Shoultz, Ms. Kim Stover, Mrs. Helen Ahlmeyer, Mr. Bill Patterson, and Mrs. Marylou Shelly. “We had mailboxes then where people would leave hard copies of articles that might pertain to a class you were teaching or an example of an assignment they gave for a unit. This was all in the days before school email and the Internet of course. I try to pay it forward by welcoming back our North grads when they choose to return here to work.”
Handt believes the new teachers at North were probably nervous and anxious to have a good start to the year; however, they all had big smiles on their faces. She tries not to give a lot of advice to new people unless teachers ask for it. Then she gives examples of what she might do so that they have options. “My nephew is a new teacher at a school in northern Indiana, so he is asking for advice occasionally now.”
In regards to the gift bags, we heard “thank you” over and over again while people were going through the line to get their appreciation gifts. They seemed genuinely appreciative and the new teachers expressed it enthusiastically.
“The mug is amazing! And it was so nice to be appreciated on the first day.” — Kelley Culp
“I liked the t-shirts a lot!!! An overall thank you.” — Peyton Rhodes
“I got a compliment when I wore my t-shirt to the soccer game. A lot of parents stopped me and said they look super nice and thanked me which was kind of nice.”
— Claudine McKinney
“As a newer teacher, it’s nice to get spirit wear to participate in dress-up days and Friday.” — Grace McDougall
With the severe teacher shortage in Indiana, the Alumni Association is focusing on helping to attract and retain high-quality educators for Columbus North. Making sure that every teacher feels appreciated for the job he/she does at North helps that process.
Our members wish to express their gratitude to our sponsors for the First Annual New Teacher Day. Their help in making the first day back to school special could not have been accomplished without them. The Alumni Association provided a majority of the funding, with our sponsors donating various additional amounts of money to help.
Russell Development Company (LEAD SPONSOR)
Dave and Bev Roberts at Breeden Realtors
Columbus Wealth Management
The Tony London Company
The Bartholomew County Public Library
BCSC Health Clinic
All Bull Dog Alumni Association Donors