Pine Tree ISD’s convocation Monday featured a lot of remixes of “Old Town Road,” but the Primary School’s version won out and earned the coveted spirit stick.

Each campus, along with the administration, created a cheer, chant or song for the district’s annual spirit contest.

It was not hard to find school spirit after a performance by the drum line and cheerleaders kicked off the event. Some athletes from each of the district’s teams also were introduced.

Place 6 Trustee Jim Cerrato addressed the staff.

“You love to teach the ones that are going to go out and be superstars. It’s baseball season, so we call them the home runs,” he said. “But what’s different about Pine Tree is — we do care about our home runs, but we really don’t want to strike out. We do not want to leave one child behind.”

Cerrato encouraged the staff to be a positive influence on students the way a cafeteria worker affected him in elementary school.

“I remember her name was Lunch Lady,” he said jokingly. “And every day, I’d go to lunch and see Lunch Lady, and she’d always have that big smile on her face, and I thought, ‘Man, how could she be happy waiting on all these kids?’”

One day, Cerrato missed school, he said, and he always will remember the cafeteria worker checking on him the next day, saying she missed him.

“About a month later, I was kind of dragging a little bit, and my mom said, ‘Well, do you need to stay home?’ and I said, ‘Mom I can’t stay home. The Lunch Lady will miss me,’” Cerrato said. “Every one of you has an opportunity every day to touch the lives of these children. Be the person to make a difference in those kids’ lives.”

Superintendent Steve Clugston spoke on what “Building Something Special” — the district’s motto — means.

“When we talk about building something special, it matters that we don’t just say it; we live it every single day,” he said. “Special’s not about what we stand to gain; it’s about what we don’t want to lose. It’s about having an emotional connection.”

Clugston urged teachers to not just make students workers, but believers.

“You’re going to have to believe enough for you and them, and you’re going to have to drag them kicking and screaming and make them do the work,” he said. “But we don’t ever quit working on special, because we’re changing beliefs. I want the working part to be easy, because they believe in what we’re selling, but we’ve got to believe enough in them for both of us right now until we get there.”