Once my mother arrived, it was time for me to relax and enjoy the evening, Also joining me were my husband, my daughter and her boyfriend, my close friend and her husband, colleagues from my school, and two special students. Joy Mugaju prepared an introduction for me, and Divine Ingabire was my official photographer for the evening. They both took their responsibilities very seriously.
The event was thoughtfully organized. I loved the fact that middle school students from South Portland and the JMG program were our servers for the evening. Cameron, you did a terrific job taking care of our table! Being surrounded by middle school students reminded us all of the most important people in our thoughts daily, our students.
It was a great evening of reunions with my fellow semi-finalists. All of us worked so hard during this past year as we prepared for site visits, oral presentations and portfolios, and we now share a permanent bond. Words of support from these incredible educators were appreciated and plans were made to connect professionally during the upcoming year in a number of ways.
The support for Maine Teacher of the Year program from the business community is substantial and I am so thankful for it, especially after hearing tales of past winners holding bake sales so they could represent Maine at the national level. Since my baking skills are extremely limited, I appreciate the generous corporate support for the upcoming year.
I will admit I was a bit nervous as we entered the final stages of the evening and I had to deliver my personal message. The responsibility of representing my fellow nominees, my school, my district and now my state weighed on me. But there was so much support in the room I truly felt the energy from my colleagues, ones I have worked with for many years and new colleagues gained through this process.
Thank you UNUM, Educate Maine, Hannaford, Geiger, Bangor Savings Bank, ACTME, Shannon Shannning, the Maine Teacher of the Year 2013, and all of the funders for the banquet. When I saw my colleagues the next day, they all gained a great sense of energy and enthusiasm from the event. They felt honored, as well, which is such a great benefit of this journey.