Jen and I got to attend the NEA Foundation’s Celebration of Excellence Gala this weekend (“the Emmys for teachers”) to honor a handful of outstanding educators from around the country. Several of my Teacher of the Year colleagues were being recognized, and two of them – Mike Flynn from Massachusetts and Rich Ognibene from New York – were among the five finalists. It was a fun and celebratory event, complete with formal wear, musical performances, and a beautiful banquet hall.
Plus, Elmo and Cookie Monster were there.
After the event, LeAnn, a sweet friend of ours from Nevada, went up to get a photo with the two furry muppets, but was turned away… by Elmo’s bodyguard! Apparently Elmo and his blue, baked-goods-loving pal were getting a few publicity shots with the choir, then whisked offstage by their security detail.
As lovable and approachable as the muppets are, the logistical realities of a big event preclude the opportunity to meet with the masses, I guess. Or maybe their union didn’t want them being overworked for too little pay. Whatever the reason, our furry friends only met with a few folks before the event in the VIP room (pictured here is my friend Rich from NY), and a few folks after the event for a photo op.
As furry and approachable as our new ed leaders seem (see this post), I wonder how the realities of this massive system called ‘education’ will play out. Rest assured, if I ever get another pass to the VIP room, I’ll make the most of it.