Thursday, January 16, 2014

Rewind Wednesday, Part Two: Toyota Highmark Press Conference

The following morning, I was recognized at a press event back at the capitol by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, State Superintendent of schools Jim Phares, and WV Board of Education President Gayle Manchin. I was also recognized by Doug Sheilds of Toyota Manufacturing, who presented me with the Prius to use as I travel the state this year, as well as Fred Early and Catherine McAlister (president and manager of communications, respectively), who present the teacher of the year with an unrestricted $5,000.
Approaching the capitol that morning

On our way inside, I happened to see...

Remarks by Gov. Tomblin

Thank you Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield!

Thank you Toyota!
What is a press conference like? Well, there are lots of cameras and flashes that are going off all at once. Whenever I see a camera, I want to look at the person taking the picture and smile (because my mother always told me to smile nice for the camera, you know), but what they want you to do is act natural and pretend they aren't there. Which is hard when there are 20+ of them. I wish I would have had Brad throw me my phone before I started speaking so I could have taken a picture of it to show you what it looks like. It's pretty exciting and fun.
Picture from the WVDE Facebook Page

I was also given the opportunity to make some remarks and express my gratitude to Toyota and Highmark for their generosity. You can watch my speech above. I also spoke about some of the programs I've created that I am looking forward to sharing with the students and teachers of West Virginia this year - but I will save those for another blog post.

We then went outside so they could officially present me with the car. I also did some interviews for the local news stations.
Picture from WVDE Facebook page

Getting positioned for pictures - and showing me how to turn on the car (hey it's a push button start...otherwise I would know how to start a car :-)

With the WV Board of Education

Speaking to the media
Berkeley the Bear also got some press time, but he will share that with his readers on his own blog. If that just sounded a little strange, check out his site, and I will explain on here in another blog post :-)

I had a wonderful time in Charleston and am "pumped" to represent West Virginia's teachers this year. I was really, truly sad to learn on the way home of the water emergency due to the chemical spill that is now impacting the southern counties of the state. I know there have been a lot of efforts here locally in the Eastern Panhandle to gather bottled water and supplies for those impacted by this emergency. As I told Jenni Vincent, a report for The Journal (our local  newspaper) prior to the State of the State address, those in the far Eastern Panhandle sometimes feel cut off from the rest of the state. In times of crisis you do get to see that, whatever part of the state we hail from, we are all West Virginians.

Next week I head to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the first conference with all of the other state teachers of the year. Just keeping it real, I'm a little intimidated by that, and I hope that I represent all of the teachers in our state well next week and in the months to come.

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