Chamber President Regina Bowsher extended the formal greeting after the group sat down to a catered lunch. Mayor Jim Orr provided basic information about the community, including its workforce of 12,000 jobs in a town of 8,000 people.
Chamber board member Rod Anderson offered a Monett trivia contest with questions about early airplane pioneer Logan McKee, how many banks are in town and past visits by U.S. presidents.
The guest speaker was retired science teacher Heno Head. Early in his career, Head discovered students prefer to see a demonstration rather than listening to a lecture.
Head showed how to fold a paper with the word "Monett" on it, insert two paper clips, pull the paper apart and have linked clips, demonstrating that the new teachers were "hooked up with success."
Dropping a ball into a cup after pulling out several objects in between, Head showed the principals will be there to catch the new teachers if they need help. He placed a bar of Ivory soap in a microwave oven for 77 seconds, spoke about the assets in the community then showed the bubbled up soap bar as an illustration of "living large."
For more dramatic illustrations, Head poked pencils into a plastic bag filled with water held over Superintendent John Jungmann's head. The bag did not drip. He directed the group to drop seltzer tablets into film containers and watch them pop as an example of how life is "popping" in Monett.
"I once heard education is not filling the bucket, it's lighting the fire," Head said.
To illustrate this, Head dropped flour down a tube to produce a burst of flame. He also touched two balloons with a flame-tipped device. One popped simply, another exploded with a small fireball, showing how students will respond with good learning.
A native of Leland, Miss., Head told how two other fellows from Leland achieved fame. One went to New York City to make commercials with his invention, Muppets. Jim Henson then named his most famous puppet for his friend, Kermit Scott.
The teachers gave Head a hearty round of applause to end his talk.
Bowsher introduced representatives from the 42 sponsors who helped underwrite the luncheon. New teachers all received a gift bag with items donated as a greeting.
Sponsors were: Aaron's Sales and Lease; Aire Serve; American Family Insurance; Barry-Lawrence Regional Library; Blessings Books & Gifts; Bruner Pharmacy; Buchanan Funeral Home; Kylee Campbell State Farm Insurance; Cheezies; Community National Bank; Cox Monett Hospital; Crown Double K Realty; Dixie Printing; Doug's Pro Lube; Drury University; Edward Jones Investments; EFCO, a Pella Company; First State Bank of Purdy; First United Methodist Church; Hornor's Frame & Collision; International Dehydrated Foods; Jack Henry & Associates; McDaniel Detailing; Missouri Southern State University; Mocha Jo's Coffee Cafe; Monett Area YMCA; Monett Chamber of Commerce; Monett Historical Society; Monett Church of the Nazarene; Monett Jaycees; Monett Veterinary Hospital; Pre-Paid Legal Services; Promesa Spanish Assembly of God; Re/Max Properties; Rod Anderson; St. John's Lutheran Church; Sam's Club; The Monett Times; UMB Bank; Walmart; and Westco.