Don’t be surprised if you see the entirety of Indian Trail Elementary School in line behind the Grand Marshal float at this year’s Indian Trail Christmas Parade.
That’s because their principal, Mrs. Gina Chisum, will be leading the way for the Sunday, Dec. 2, festivities. It’s an honor she doesn’t take lightly, Chisum said – she values the opportunity to set an example for the youngsters in her stead and follow the school’s tradition of Leading The Way.
“We definitely have future grand marshals here,” Chisum said of her students. “For me, I want kids to be able to look up and say, ‘Hey, if my principal can do that, so can I. If my principal can lead the way in that way, I can, too.’”
The Indian Trail Town Council selected Chisum to serve as grand marshal in large part due to that commitment to seeing her students become the town’s future leaders. But the honor also was bestowed in recognition of her long commitment to and accomplishments with Indian Trail Elementary.
“Principal Chisum is the epitome of what we want our youngest residents to look toward as a role model,” Indian Trail Mayor Michael Alvarez said. “I’ve known her for a long time – she’s beloved by her students.”
Chisum arrived at the school in 1997, serving as a PTO and classroom mom when her children started attending. It wasn’t long before she became a substitute, and then a teacher’s assistant before obtaining her master’s degree in teaching and becoming a second-grade teacher. She taught in various grades for 10 years, before taking a position with the school system focused on instructional technology. After obtaining her administrative license, she brought all that experience back to Indian Trail in 2014, becoming the school’s assistant principal. She’s now in her second year as principal.
“This is home,” she said of her commitment to Indian Trail. “The people here to me are a second family. I don’t know many people who get to get up and go to a job that they love with people they love every day. I feel extremely blessed to be able to do this.”
Chisum and her husband – who she credits as being the support system she can always rely on – will kick off the Christmas parade at 4 p.m., starting at Post Office Drive. Floats will head down Indian Trail Road, turning right onto Matthews-Indian Trail Road before wrapping around Chestnut Square Park. There will be plenty of spots to watch the parade at the park, while those who cannot attend will be able to watch the parade live online at the Town’s Facebook page. The event is sponsored by Farm Bureau Insurance of Indian Trail.
A number of festivities will be held at Chestnut Square Park following the parade, including a sledding hill, free smores and hot chocolate, free pictures with Santa, a holiday trackless train, inflatables and much more.
“Santa has asked us to make this a Christmas celebration the likes of which he’s never seen,” Indian Trail Events Coordinator Hayden Kramer said. “That’s a tall task, but I think he’s going to be very pleased with all the cool things we’ve got lined up for him and all our guests.”
The night will be capped off with the official Indian Trail Christmas Tree Lighting around 6 p.m. All are invited to attend to take part in the festivities and welcome in the holiday season.
Chestnut Square Park is located at 320 Chestnut Pkwy. Find more information about Indian Trail Parks and Recreation and future events at www.itsparksandrec.com.