There is perhaps nothing like a warm meal to make you feel at home, and that is just what Denison Independent School District’s 35 newest faces got on Tuesday from the Denison Area Chamber of Commerce and 22 sponsoring business.
“It’s a fun time for us, when we can recognize each of you and what you do for the community,” said Chamber President Anna McKinney told the new teachers.
The lunch was a break from orientation, which began Monday. Organizers showered the teachers with door prizes and goodie bags, in addition to words of encouragement.
“Once you become a part of this community … they accept you with open arms,” Workforce Solutions Texoma Director of External Relations Bob Rhoden told the teachers. “You’ve come to a place where you’re going to find a lot of support. You’ve seen that today. You see that with the sponsors on the list. You’ve seen the things that have happened over the past few days.”
He said parents, administrators, the Denison Education Foundation, parent, teacher organizations and booster clubs are all ready to lend a hand to Denison’s teachers. “But most importantly you have a community to support you,” Rhoden said.
For some of the teachers, Rhoden said, it is a new experience; for others, who are new to DISD for a second time, it’s good to be back. For Lauren Hempkins, who is a new social studies teacher at B. McDaniel Middle School, it seems to be somewhere in between.
It is not her first time at the District, but it will be her first time in her own classroom. A graduate of Denison High School, Hempkins said, she will be teaching in the same classroom she learned sixth grade social studies. “It’s humbling and surreal at the same time,” she said.
Embarking on a new career, Hempkins recently left a path in marketing. She said the corporate career wasn’t a good fit for her. She decided to begin substitute teaching and ended last year with a long-term substitute teaching position at B. Mac.
Hempkins recently earn an alternative teacher’s certificate. “I didn’t expect to fall in love with it and I did,” she said.