Story by David Carroll

Eyewitness News Anchor

HAMILTON COUNTY, TN (WRCB)-- Registration is Wednesday for Hamilton County Schools, with the first day of classes to begin in one week.

What better way to get the school district's employees ready than with a huge pep rally? We go inside McKenzie Arena for a look at this year's convocation.

One by one, each Hamilton County School got its moment in the sun, whooping and hollering to show their spirit for the new year. With the help of four local businesses, the school district hosted an arena full of employees in a giant pep rally.

"It's not just teachers principals or school board's operations, maintenance, cafeteria, without them we couldn't open the doors," says Janice Boydston, District 6 School Board Member.

The main attraction is motivational speaker Adolph Brown, who says any student can be taught if you get their attention.

"So when you say yes ma'am or no sir, your friends may think you're corny. But if they're talking about you behind your back, that just means you're standing in front of them. Cheers," says Brown.

Principals and teachers say inspirational messages can provide a real jump start as they prepare for a challenging year.

"We're very excited and ready to go, looking forward to the things we can do with our kids this year," says Angelia Askins, principal of Falling Water.

"I think any time you can get teachers outside the classroom it is a good way to build the team, and get excited about what you're about to do," says Ian Shaw, teacher at Soddy Daisy Middle.

And this year is especially exciting with the district receiving $10.9 million in "Race to the Top" funds, specifically set aside for student learning and staff development.

"We need to dispel the notion that we can balance our budget with these dollars we cannot do that," says School Superintendent R. Jim Scales.

Dr. Scales also said to expect some alarming test scores when they are released later this year, locally and statewide. He told teachers their students were still learning, but the standards are much higher, and harder to meet. The "Race to the Top" funds will be spread out over a four-year period, starting this school year.