Supercalifragilisticexpi … Nacogdoches! As in the Nacogdoches ISD (Independent School District) in Nacogdoches, Texas, where I got the chance to help kick off the school year with my largest gathering of educators thus far. (I got there by airplane, not umbrella BTW, despite my lead-in to this post.) It was all part of Nacogdoches ISD’s Convocation 2017, which drew more than a thousand teachers, paraprofessionals, staff, and administration. 

I had such a great time visiting Nacogdoches, and can’t believe I was there right before the storm hit Texas. My thoughts continue to be with everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey, and all the amazing people helping with rescue and recovery.

One of the local TV stations, KTRE, shared some nice coverage of my appearance at Convocation 2017. (Click the link below to check out the full story.)

• Nacogdoches ISD Convocation lifts morale — ABC9 KTRE

Educators gathered at Nacogdoches Convocation 2017

A little excerpt from the article:

Nacogdoches – A funny motivational speaker with a serious message set the tone at Nacogdoches ISD’s 2017 convocation. 

One teacher said she hadn’t laughed so hard all year long. The comic relief, following a treacherous school year, is exactly what motivational speaker Tim Clue provided.

“In five seconds if that stapler is not back on my desk, school is canceled for the year,” said Clue as he portrayed an angry teacher. Clue told the story while standing on a chair before hundreds of teachers.

Teachers say humorous classroom anecdotes are what they needed.

Monica Simpson, an elementary school counselor said, “I’m very excited and pumped up. A great experience.”

And here’s the video:

***

So all in all, it was a great way to start the school year — and I got a huge kick out of visiting Nacogdoches itself. For one thing, Nacogdoches bills itself as the oldest town in Texas and is apparently home to Texas’s largest garden of azaleas. 

azalea garden

But there’s also a great story about how Nacogdoches earned itself a place in comedy history more than a century ago — it’s the place where the Marx Brothers figured out that they were destined to be comedians, during their early days on the Vaudeville circuit.

Sources disagree about the exact year that it happened, but here’s how Wikipedia tells the story:

In 1912, the Marx Brothers came to town to perform their singing act at the old Opera House (now the SFA Cole Art Center). Their performance was interrupted by a man who came inside shouting, “Runaway mule!” Most of the audience left the building, apparently thinking a runaway mule would provide better entertainment. When they filed back in, Julius (later known as Groucho) began insulting them, saying “Nacogdoches is full of roaches!” and “The jackass is the flower of Tex-ass!” Instead of becoming angry, audience members laughed. Soon afterward, Julius and his brothers decided to try their hand at comedy instead of singing, at which they had barely managed to scrape together a living. A historic plaque commemorating the event is posted in downtown Nacogdoches.

Marx Brothers

So … thank heavens the citizens of Nacogdoches had such a great sense of humor about themselves a hundred years ago! We might have them to thank for giving us Animal Crackers and Duck Soup, in addition to all those azaleas.

I’m no Marx Brothers, but it was an honor to spend some time bouncing my own jokes off the friendly folks of Nacogdoches — while exchanging ideas about how to help kids discover their own best talents and potential.

P.S. Here’s more about the Marx Brothers story, if you’re interested:

• Marx Brothers’ road to stardom began in Nacogdoches — Houston Chronicle

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