As you’ve seen on the BioRx blog, Author Shannon Ralph is 2015’s Kansas Teacher of the Year. She’s spending part of her semester traveling and speaking on behalf of Kansas teachers. This week we are sharing her visit to Washington, D.C. for the Teachers of The Year recognition. Check out her visit to the Smithsonian Institute and keep up with her other KTOY adventures here on the blog and on her Twitter page.
This is a day to be remembered! We were bused to the Eisenhower Gate of the White House, that’s right, WHITE HOUSE! After clearing all of the security checks (scarydog and all), we spent an hour meeting with the President’s Domestic Policy Council discussing educational issues. We were able to converse about the President’s stance on various issues (such as ESEA reauthorization) and some of the practical practices resulting from federal laws/mandates. It was interesting.
We then walked over to the Eisenhower room (you know, the one right next to the Oval Office) as a holding place until we met the President. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed, but trust me, it was COOL!
They then opened the door to the Oval Office and we went in one at a time to shake hands and take our picture with the President of the United States!!!!!!!! When I went in I said, “Good afternoon Mr. President.” To which he replied “So, what do you teach?” I told him I teach biology and he commented “Oh! I love science teachers!” And of course I said, “I know, right?!”
I then took my picture with my arm around the President. Following my picture I was escorted to the glass doors overlooking the Rose Garden and was then announced as I entered the Rose Garden. All of the State Teachers of the Year did this.
After we were all gathered, the President came out to make remarks. The National Teacher of the Year, Shanna Peeples, offered her remarks as well. The President, Shanna, and Arne Duncan (United States Secretary of Education) then moved in with the group for a group photo.
Somehow, music was brought up, and interestingly enough, we have a Class of 2015 song! So….we sang it for the President. Right there on the spot. I’m pretty sure that is what will have our class stand out from all of the others! J Amazing experience. I’m still a little overwhelmed by it all.
Then, Wednesday evening was a whole other amazing event. This was our black-tie Reception and Dinner at The Sphinx Club/Almas Temple.
This is probably the nicest reception I have ever attended. Beautiful music by a group of strings, delicious hors-d’oeuvres lovely setting……..you get the picture. Most of us called this event “teacher prom”- men in tuxes and ladies in long ball gowns. We heard from several key people, including Shanna Peeples. Pretty magical evening!