GREAT FALLS — C.M. Russell High School’s fieldhouse was filled with applause and excitement Monday, but it wasn't to watch a game - it was the annual convocation ceremony for Great Falls Public Schools.
Hundreds of educators, parent advocates, community partners, and district employees came together to start the school year off right.
The crowd listened to several speeches around the theme 'Who helps you grow?', which focused on nurturing and supporting students' growth.
Speakers emphasized the importance of teaching students to contribute to the community and to be respectful and responsible citizens.
Education reform was also a topic that some attendees felt strongly about; GFPS Parent Advocate Laura Christ says she's seen how budget cuts negatively impact students and that it's up to advocacy groups like ‘Kids Education Yes’ to stand up for educators.
"We want the community to know that it’s parents like myself that are asking for more education,” she said. “It’s not the administration asking for a bigger pay raise, that’s now what we’re doing. This is about our children, this is about our classroom sizes, and supporting our teachers and helping them feel heard and seen."
The first day of classes for GFPS is Wednesday, August 28th.