The Zachary Community School District’s story practically writes itself — 10 years at No. 1 following the decision 11 years ago to gain independence from East Baton Rouge Parish schools.
Each year, the district credits maintaining standards of excellence, a student-centered philosophy and core values as the reasons for its success.
Annually, after school and district performance scores are released, a pep rally for the community celebrates Zachary’s rankings and has become a tradition.
Complete with cheerleaders and marching band, the pep rallies are always engaging. This year, however, Superintendent Scott Devillier knew that a decade at No. 1 was an extraordinary milestone deserving of a pep rally like no other.
District and school officials pulled out all the stops Thursday with a celebration that can be described only as a mini-musical marathon of dancing and singing students, teachers and principals.
Each school was awarded a plaque for earning an A grade and helping the district achieve its No. 1 ranking. Devillier and School Board Vice President David Dayton, who emceed the event, presented the awards to principals after each school’s performance.
The performance started with the district’s youngest school, Zachary Early Learning Center. Students and teachers were a blast from the past in bell bottoms and tie-dyed T-shirts performing to the Jackson 5’s “ABC.” ZELC Principal Cynthia Myers became misty-eyed as she accepted her award from Devillier, who announced Myers’ retirement.
Following the pre-K students, Northwestern Elementary kindergartners and teachers went retro with their performance to the “Happy Days” theme song.
Principal Martha Davis, who will take on a dual role as principal over ZELC and Northwestern after Myers retires, was dressed in a poodle skirt and letterman jacket along with her teachers. Students held up signs for each year the district achieved No. 1 status while singing the theme song to the popular television show.
Rollins Place Elementary Principal Jennifer Marangos was the sun, and her first- and second-graders revolved around her while singing, dancing and riding in a cardboard cut-out of a 1960s Volkswagen van complete with flower power and peace signs.
Zachary Elementary’s third- and fourth-graders were back-up dancers and singers to Principal Dewey Davis’ revised lyrics to the tune of “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Davis sang “Because We’re Zachary.”
Another highlight of the night was Copper Mill Elementary Principal Keisha Thomas and her students, who impressed with their moves performing as Beyoncé and her dancers in concert.
Northwestern Middle School Principal Debby Brian and her students performed to their own version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” singing the words “Beat ’Em” instead.
Eighth-grade English teacher Angela Richard dressed as Jackson, complete with one white glove. Brian accepted her school’s award wearing a tutu and tights.
Zachary High School ended the night with a rowdy performance to its own version of Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” singing instead, “We are, we are Zachary!”