A month? A month with no updates? I assure you, I have not been slacking this time! This is been one of the busiest months of my life! There is no way to include all the details that I'd like to document here for posterity, but I'll hit the highlights.
Last Tuesday night was the highlight of the month-hands down! Our third annual "Reach Them to Teach Them-The Power of One!" was held at the Tennessee Theatre. Our entire team showed up in force and everything worked beautifully! With the addition of Summer Tucker and Theresa Nixon, our administrative team increased its efficiency many times over! Our corporate sponsors, Jack and Sue Wickstrom from American Print Solutions, have also really brought it to the table! They have been incredible! Their support and generosity have far surpassed my expectations! Our team is amazing! It's hard to believe that we're an all-volunteer organization! I know that our team is working for the Lord. They inspire me! Let's see if I can recap...
The week before was fall break, so I spent most of the break tying up loose ends and sorting tickets. Theresa and Sherry came by to help on Friday then we distributed tickets to our team for distribution on Monday. They got tickets delivered to over 80 schools in ONE DAY! Also, Emmette Thompson used his influence to bring a group of teachers from Scott County by way of Gentry's Bus Lines. Monday morning, Dean and I fly to Akron, Ohio to pick up an anxious Dr. Bartlette. I was anxious too because I had a bit of difficulty dealing with Dr. Malcolm Smith re: the honorarium. Fortunately, everything worked out and once Dr. Bartlette got a taste of east Tennessee hospitality, he knew we could take good care of him.
Monday evening, we had dinner at Seasons. Jack and Sue, Summer, Chuck and Lori, Mom and Dad, Ed, Tom, Jo, Mardee, and Dr. Bartlette were treated to a shrimp and filet dinner. It was incredible! It was a busy day, so we headed home early to rest up for the big day!
Tuesday, I got off to a slow start by meeting Jo, Mardee, Miles, Ed, Dr. Bartlette and Travis at Chick-fil-A for breakfast. We had a great time of bonding together. I managed to get to the theatre about 12. Everything was under control. I wish we had large posters to display in the lobby and out on the street. Also, we needed an autograph table for HHH and Bartlette. Also, we didn't stress the post-it note feedback wall from the stage and we needed to to get good feedback.
The event kicked off with a chick-fil-A dinner for everyone. Oh yeah, prior to the doors opening at 5, people were lined up down the sidewalk and around the corner! We ran a powerpoint of quotes and general information from 5:00-6:00. Then at 6:00, we started with an introductory video message featuring kids and a message from me. Scott did an awesome job as our emcee! He looked a little uncomfortable in a suit. Hallerin asked me if I minded if he changed into something more comfortable. Of course, I didn't mind a bit! He did a great interview with Live at Five at Four at about 4:30. Cavanaugh was nervous before the event, but HHH eased his nerves and made him relax! Anyway, after the video, Mayor Ragsdale shared a message of support via DVD and Mayor Haslam welcomed everyone Live and In Person! HHH did his thang! His message played off the word BELIEVE. He said we need to Be. Then LEAVE. He was better than I've ever heard him! Then Cavanaugh wowed the crowd with an incredible performance. Theresa's idea of having the words behind him on the screen was a great idea and added a lot to his message. Next Dr. Bartlette shared his story, Macaroni and Midnight, and the audience was on their feet. Our closing was a little too long, but Scott then challenged the audience to accept the challenge to be different because of what they experienced tonight. As a visible sign of their commitment, they accepted a bracelet declaring, "Reach Them-It's Worth It!" Finally, I shared a videotaped message and then said thank you in person. Scott dismissed the audience, and all was completed by 7:56! EARLY!
I heard many, many positive comments and shook many hands. Everything was packed up and out by 9:15! Mardee, Jo, Ed, Dr. Bartlette, another teacher from Willow Brook, and I went to Chick-fil-A for a quick bite to eat. Ed bought me a milkshake. I was home in bed by 11, but keyed up, so I wrote a quick thank you email to our team before allowing myself to sleep.
Wednesday morning, I met Ed and Dr. Bartlette at TAC Air, and as luck would have it, ran into Mayor Haslam at the airport. I was surprised he knew my name! I thanked him for the role he played at the event, and he expressed his gratitude for being invited to play a part.
The trip to Ohio was pleasant and we enjoyed our last few moments in each other's company. Dean was a wonderful pilot and as always, pledged his continued support of our efforts to "Reach Them."
Thursday morning back at school was surreal. Many folks were supportive and gave me positive feedback. I was surprised by an email from Dr. Bartlette offering to return to Knoxville next year for free! All he asks is that Dean provide air transporation and Mardee and Jo provide hospitality services. I told him we'd discuss the possibility around our de-briefing table.
Friday was crazy at school. Two unplanned fire drills and the fall frenzy dance party. Just more chaos in the middle school world!