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Thousands of CMS teachers, employees attend back-to-school rally

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/16/39/z041v.Em.138.jpeg|194
    David T. Foster III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Hugo the Hornet plays with members of Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School during the CMS Employee Back-to-School Rally on Thursday at Time Warner Cable Arena.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/16/39/WmZUv.Em.138.jpeg|192
    David T. Foster III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools employees cheer and dance during the second-annual Employee Back-to-School Rally at Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/16/39/ovM6H.Em.138.jpeg|206
    David T. Foster III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    CMS employees reach for a T-shirt during the Back-to-School Rally at Time Warner Cable Arena on Thursday.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/16/39/OpSxW.Em.138.jpeg|222
    David T. Foster III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Paul Williams, principal of McClintock Elementary and self-proclaimed Conductor of Awesomeness, performs Thursday as the school mascot The Mighty Scot against Wells Fargo mascot Jack the Dog during a mascot dance-off at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ second-annual Employee Back-to-School Rally at Time Warner Cable Arena.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/21/16/39/1dNazv.Em.138.jpeg|267
    David T. Foster III - dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com
    Chandra Herring, left, of Winterfield Elementary and Natalie Jones of West Learning Community hug Thursday during Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ second-annual Employee Back-to-School Rally at Time Warner Cable Arena.

More than 14,000 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools teachers, administrators and support personnel got the school year off to a rousing start Thursday morning with the second annual Employee Back-to-School Rally at Time Warner Cable Arena.

The event, underwritten by a number of Charlotte-area businesses, featured short speeches by Superintendent Heath Morrison and board Chairwoman Mary McCray, along with music and appearances by most of the area’s sports mascots.

And McClintock Middle School Principal Paul Williams, billing himself as Conductor of Awesomeness, won a dance-off against mascots Chubby Checker of the Charlotte Checkers and Homer the Dragon of the Charlotte Knights.

It was a final chance for the system’s employees to gather before the job of educating children gets underway. Employees filled most of the nearly 14,000 seats in the lower area of the arena, and hundreds more got seats on the arena floor.

Most CMS schools hold open houses Friday, although many had those programs Thursday afternoon.

The first day of classes for CMS and most other public schools in North Carolina will be Monday. Steve Lyttle

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