Teachers filed into the Carbondale Middle School cafeteria Monday morning.
It was the first day of school for the staff, and the new superintendent, Daniel Booth, was making the rounds.
He helped lead some teachers in a prayer circle outside the school and, after lots of hugs and handshakes, stepped up to the microphone to call the rowdy crowd to order.
"Now, you know that we can't officially start the school year until we hear from Marvin," he said. "So, without further ado, Marvin, it's all yours."
Marvin Courson, 73 years old, mail courier at Carbondale Elementary School District 95 since 1990 -- and, we will note, a nearly 20-year sports contributor to the Carbondale Times -- has been serenading the teachers on the first day of school for well over a decade.
"Back then, Elizabeth Lewin was the superintendent, and she challenged the staff to write a song parody and perform it on the first day of school," Courson explained. "I was the only one who volunteered, and since then, it's just become what I do, for the teachers, each year, to encourage them."
Courson's song, based on the old MGM standard "Singin' in the Rain," is titled "I'm Not Singin' in the Rain," and was written as a tribute to the teachers of District 95 and all of the work they do every year.
"I'm not singin' in the rain. The sun has come alive. What a glorious feeling. You're back at 95," Courson belted out, accompanied by district band director Shadi Frick. A long round of applause followed.
"I feel good about the start of school every year," Courson said. "The teachers are the most important part of the district. You can have the best superintendent, the best staff and the best buildings, but you won't succeed without the teachers. They're the most dedicated and hard-working people you'll ever want to meet."
Classes began Wednesday at District 95 schools.