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Different Time, Same Home

From Reggie Hill, M. Ed. –

In 2000, I was elected as the 3rd overall and 1st male to serve as Student Council President at Calloway-Smith Middle School.

Under the advisement of the Student Council Sponsor, Mrs. Gloria Gordon, my Administration introduced, presented, and hosted our school’s Inaugural Homecoming Celebration. This was a week of spirited activities which included: A Classroom Door/Hallway Decoration Competition; a Teachers vs. Students Sports Challenge; a Pep-Rally hosted by 93 BLX Jamz; and even a Homecoming Dance.

When you’re an 8th Grader, organizing something of this magnitude that impacts your entire Student Population, you know that you are doing something amazing with great meaning. But, you never really understand completely—the tone you are setting, for future Students to come. Particularly, those unborn.

For several generations, people have found ways to express the notion that: “Thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become habits. Habits become character. And, character creates destiny”.

Who knew our Middle School Homecoming Week, which started as a mere idea in an 8th Grade Social Studies room, would be the spectacle that it has become in 2023.

Today (10/6/2023) will conclude the 24th Annual CSMS Homecoming Week...

Wow! That may not seem like much to most. Yet, when you were writing down the original notes to put this plan (that seems normal now) into motion for the first time ever… 24 Celebrations later is quite unfathomable. Surely we weren’t thinking about the 2023 rendition back then, right?

For almost a year, “S4TF” has been a Sponsor for the CSMS Band. So, I was invited to participate in Homecoming. And, surely you know that the CSMS Band provided the excitement this week at 350 North Lawrence Street… seeing the Band Students’ faces after picking up pizza for everyone and interacting with them in general (during and after school) does a joy to your soul that words cannot express.

Had you been on Campus yesterday, you would have truly been amazed. The Wildcat Spirit was flowing immensely. Former teachers and students alike were there, and State Representative Adline Clarke (D-97), who holds the seat for the State Congressional District CSMS is in, even showed up to watch the game with the best Middle School Football backdrop in the City of Mobile!

As well, special shout out to the LeFlore High School Mighty Marching Rattler Band, for keeping everyone entertained and for teaming up with CSMS Band students to form a combined Band… and not just for a couple of numbers.

These two programs were soundly in uniform step from the beginning of the game until the end… even putting on an amazing Halftime presentation. Kudos to Ms. McMillian (CSMS) and Mr. Patton (LHS) for continuously preserving the arts and giving our children access to the beauty of such a craft. A true means of escape that has no bounds.

When I was in school, we didn’t have a Homecoming Court that represented each Grade Level. The entire school just voted for the Homecoming Queen. But let me tell you, I am so excited that CSMS has evolved. And this approach not only makes the engagement inclusive it affords our youngsters something to look forward to.

Those who know me, know that I save monumental heirlooms from anything that I am involved with. So, it’s only right that on yesterday I had on the 1st ever CSMS Homecoming Pin. Yes, I still have my pin from 2000. The look of shock on the faces of those in attendance as I told them the story is priceless. My favorite response came from Mrs. Hall… who has taught 6th Grade Math at CSMS since the school opened in 1998. She remembered the Homecoming Pin vividly and absolutely couldn’t believe that I still had it. She told me that this would be her last year with MCPSS. Those will be some tough shoes to fill!

Nonetheless, while I had the original souvenir for our annual celebration pinned on my shirt… the most important pin for this week, I had put up for safe-keeping.

During the Pep-Rally, Mr. Jeremiah Hall was named 7th Grade Homecoming Prince. Because of his GPA and Satisfactory Conduct, he qualified for nomination. Don’t take this as bias, but he won hands down, no competition. And the way his peers erupted for him, when his name was called, showed me the impact “S4TF” has on him and consequently the impact he has on his fellow Wildcats. We started with Jeremiah as a 4th Grader at Leinkauf Elementary School.

While I personally wanted to chronicle this experience (in blog form) to reflect on, years from now… more so I wanted to remind our Readers about the importance of the seeds you plant, and how full circle can be monumental or devastating… depending on how you tend to the crop of your dealings.

It really felt like coming back home. That level, feeling of being welcomed is almost indescribable. What’s most interesting though is the fact that while walking the halls on Campus yesterday, it felt like my time enrolled was only a very short while ago. As memories began rushing back to my mind like they had just happened. It further affirmed that “S4TF” has to do all it can to offer the best platforms for our Project Participants to grow and become contributing Citizens of Society.

In the coming weeks, I plan to share more about the greatness that has stemmed from CSMS. Special nod to Principal Payton for steering our ship in a direction that is most-definitely promising, for the students there. Your hospitality towards the community is a sure example of why CSMS shall always be supported; always go beyond trailblazing; and continue to produce community leaders with international influence. Congrats on a successful Homecoming Week 2023 and congrats to the Coaching Staff and our stellar Football Team for an impressive 44-0 victory for Calloway-Smith over North Mobile County!

Let’s all make life better for those who come after us, even if they were born only a day later. For it is our responsibility to shape the mindsets and neighborhoods we desire to see and deserve to sustain. This is best done... molding tomorrow, today!


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