BRAG ALERT!!! If it annoys you to hear parents go on and on about the accomplishments of their kids, this probably isn't the blog post for you. So, save yourself the aggravation and go read about the latest Donald Trump ass-hattery.
Last night, Pam and I got to attend the teacher of the year banquet for the Richland II school district in Columbia, SC. Forty of that district's schools were represented by their winners. Among them were the five finalists for the district TOTY, my daughter being one of those five. There were many reasons to believe that she stood no chance of winning, not the least of which were the incredible accomplishments of the other four finalists. Kaitlin, as a third year teacher, was in her first year of eligibility, not to mention the fact that the outgoing TOTY was also from Muller Road Middle School. And yet, there she was standing at the microphone in front of over a hundred educators giving the most composed, articulate, heartfelt acceptance speech you've ever heard...with no notes.
I was standing in the back of the ball room holding my cell phone up, live-streaming it on Periscope. They gave her a standing ovation. It occurred to me that my girl is a phenom. Three years ago, in her first year of teaching, she won New Teacher of the Year at her school in Henrico County, then became one of three finalists for that honor for the entire County. During the interview process, she informed them that she would be moving to Columbia, SC with her new husband at the end of the school year and would not be returning to teach in Henrico. Had she not mentioned this, she would have won. Now, in her first year of eligibility, she wins TOTY in her new school, new district, new state. The kid has a gift.
Standing in the back of that room watching her was a moment, one I won't soon forget. I'm thinking...Pam and I must have done something right. But so did a lot of other great people in her life. Sure, she was gifted by God, but he gifts lots of people who turn out to be bums. What has made it work for Kaitlin is the relentless hard work, the striving to be the best, to make a difference. She has never been a place holder, someone who merely punches a clock. She is a passionate educator who lives to make a difference in the lives of her students. That doesn't happen without an awful lot of long nights, meticulous planning, and lots of love and care.
Now, it's on to Nashville to move my youngest into his first solo apartment. I'll try not to make the next few blog posts a gloat-a-thon, but I'm not making any promises.