Saturday, April 19, 2008

Apple Awards

Copied and pasted from MySpace so I wouldn't lose the text!  
Well, the event has now come and gone. What an INCREDIBLE night! Did I "win" the grand prize? No. Did I have an amazing time with friends, family, and colleagues? YES! After getting all ready (yes, Ms. G wore a dress!) Ann Herrell (building resource teacher) and I were picked up in a HUMMER-sine around 5:30 pm. It was really amusing, as the driver really had no idea where he was going, and the crazy tube lighting inside the limo made anyone go into a vertigo-induced coma! It was like riding in a moving bowling alley, when they turn on the midnight lights! :o) We rode with 6 other people, 2 finalists (one which eventually took the elementary prize), and just laughed about how were going to get OUT of that limo without falling on our faces! It was a hoot!

We arrived around 6:00 pm, and got to walk in on this red carpet, complete with a cheering squad of high schoolers bussed in for the event. No joke - the kids got to stand along the red carpet line and start clapping and cheering for the new arrivals! :) I was stopped at the end of the red carpet, and interviewed about teaching in general. I'll be curious to see if that footage makes it anywhere permanent! HA! Once we made it inside the hotel, and met up with my parents, we headed upstairs to the picture room, and had professional photographs taken. Some guy from the picture company helped me contort my body to be anything BUT comfortable or natural, but I have his assurance that I looked just great! HA! Again, I'll be curious to see the final results.

Nancy Mann (grade 3), Jan Avant (secretary), Renee Vanhorn (assistant principal) and Susan McConaghy (principal) arrived soon after, and we headed into the grand ballroom to be seated for dinner. They had these HUGE screens on both ends of the room, displaying pictures and videos of all nominees. The meal was this great dish of fish, steak, risotto, chili soup, and bread. After the meal, they began to introduce the candidates. When your name was announced, they would play this awesome video about you. It was seriously like having your very own music video, starring ME and my KIDS! It was awesome, and VERY calming to suddenly have your kids right there in the room with you. There they were, larger than life on the big screen: Lucas, talking about having fun, Alliya mentioning that I keep kids on track, Joseph mentioning the cost of xylophones, and Jordan convincing all I should win the big prize. They then showed a montage of everything I was doing in class the day they came to videotape - scarves, bells, xylophones, singing, dancing, smiling. It was amazing, and reward enough for me!

Then, the Director of Schools (DOS) for each Feeder Area, Brenda Gifford, walked me on stage, where Ms. McConaghy had a moment or two to describe me. I carefully walked to the front of this seemingly endless ballroom, met up with the other Brenda, and made my way safely (and, thankfully, without any tripping incidents) on stage. After locating my happy little "X" marks the spot on stage, I listened to Susan deliver and very thoughtful, heart-warming tribute to the many things I've done and contributed to Flagstone. It was amazing and humbling to hear such great things being said in such a public manner, and both she and I were choked up. It really was a great synopsis of what I try to do at Flagstone. She gave me a huge hug when she was done, and we calmly left the stage after having our picture taken with Brenda one last time.

TIME FOR DESSERT. After all, the dress fit, and there were 12 more finalists to get through. Cheesecake for me, thank you. The elementary and high school winners were announced, and, although disappointed at first, it was simply great to be surrounded by such caring educators, and especially comforting to be surrounded by friends and family. They cleared away the chairs and tables, making room for the dance floor, and it was finally time to simply cut loose. It was so fun to dance with Nancy, Jan, Renee, and Ann on the dance floor – a happy night with the girls! I can't tell you how many people made a point to come and talk to me during the evening. So many comments about how fun my classroom looked from the video. So many compliments for the things Susan shared in her speech. So many genuine words of kindness. I was overwhelmed by the absolute sincerity of my fellow comrades. It was amazing! We danced and chatted throughout the night, simply enjoying each other's company. Once exhausted, we gave the valet driver our numbers, our cars were collected, and we drove off into the night. I can't help but conclude that the evening was sensational, and certainly a memory that will stay with me forever!