Tonight in Springfield is the annual Teacher Appreciation Banquet. I don’t know what the attendance will be but it’s generally in the 850-1,000 range. It was my idea, twenty-three years ago, to have a banquet each year to remind teachers how much they are appreciated, provide the community with an opportunity to meet and celebrate their teachers, and demonstrate to students that teachers are highly respected. I helped run the banquet for the first seven years. Nancy Graff, her staff, and I formed the core team and we reached out to as many others as we needed. I haven’t played a role for a long time but I almost never miss the event. I even have a special tie that I only wear once a year to the Teachers Appreciation Banquet.
Each year at the banquet a teacher of the year is announced from among five finalists. For many years I used to sit on the committee that interviewed all nominees and selected the five finalists. Tonight one of the five finalists for Teacher of the Year teaches at David Harrison Elementary School so I have an extra incentive to be there! Way to go, Kevin Zimmerman!
I hope you’ve had a good week. I didn’t get as much written as I’d thought I would but it was still a productive five days and I think I can wind up the long story by the end of next week. That would give me a head start on the new project I mentioned. Plus I got the blue ribbon and received all those clever poems and good wishes. My thanks to all for that! Sandy worked it out so she could get away to Chicago so it’s on for the award ceremony. I’m very grateful to her for that. I’m finally going to be there for one of these things.
This coming Saturday evening (April 8), Missouri Writers Hall of Fame is inducting longtime Springfield News-Leader journalist and professor of journalism Mike O’Brien. The induction event will take place at Highland Springs Country Club, Springfield, Missouri. Silent auction and cocktails, 6:00 – 7:00; dinner and ceremony to follow. Net proceeds go into the Student Scholarship Fund to benefit high school seniors enrolling in college to study writing.
To help raise money for the scholarship fund, I’ve donated three items.
• A feature on my blog. This will go to the high bidder who can use it personally or give it to someone else as a gift. Valued at $150.
• Three of my books – NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T; COWBOYS; and PIRATES. I’ll autograph the books at the banquet or mail them to an out-of-town high bidder. Valued at $55.85.
• Lunch with me. I’ll take the high bidder for this one to lunch and answer questions about writing. I’ll read up to three pages of the bidder’s work and do my best to critique and advise. Valued at $150.
If any of these opportunities interests you but you won’t be there in person, please e-mail your bid(s) to Kim Piddington ( email@example.com ) or call her at (417) 581-7660 no later than this Friday, April 7, at 12:00 noon CST.
This is a silent auction so your name and bid will be printed on the bid sheet(s) before the guests arrive. The highest bids win and you won’t have another chance.
Thank you for any donation you might decide to give. There aren’t a lot of agencies that reach out to encourage and support young writers of the future. We’ve had some wonderful success stories but we always want more.
DAY TWO: It never fails. One day is never enough. If you’ve been here, come back. If you didn’t make it yesterday, here’s your chance. It’s going to be another great day!
It’s party time! The original virtual party in June 2015 came at the encouragement of poets Joy Acey and Matt Forrest. I held it in our back yard here at Goose Lake. We partied on for three days!
Later in the year another friend, Sara Johnson, Director of Educational Marketing at Shell Education, suggested that I throw a holiday party. That happened last year on December 17 and we had another great turnout. Ditto the third party in June of this year. And now, at the nudging of teacher Susan Hutchens, here we are with our fourth celebration.
Welcome to all. If you have jackets, toss them on the bed down the hall. Make yourselves at home. We have plenty of chairs and places to perch. You can also sit on the floor or the hearth. The carpet’s newish and the candles won’t burn you so move them aside.
The kitchen is through the dining room. The counter is marble so heat won’t hurt it. You don’t need to bring anything but I suppose some holiday tidbits or perhaps a drop or two of something festive would be appreciated by all.
Thank you for taking time to be here and share in the pleasure of one another’s company. Most of us talk back and forth all year but we’re rarely all together at one time. I don’t know who will show up today but if you have a specific question for anyone in particular, I’ll do my best to get it to him or her. Some of you may be meeting for the first time. If you have something you’d like to mention, such as an exciting activity, an award, your 2017 aspirations, or a new book coming out, let us know. By the way, there’s nothing wrong with bragging on your kids/grandkids or sharing a poem if you’re brave enough to stand up and present it. This IS a party after all!
So come early, drink deep from the cup of friendship, and stay as long as you like. Spread the word far and wide. Tell your friends and tell them to tell their friends. Let’s do it!
I’ve decided to do a poetry jam at Asilomar for my evening event. We’ll have plenty of poetry books to pass out and we’ll have an open mike. I’ll start with a poem and someone in the audience will respond with a poem that connects in some way to mine. I’ll respond again unless someone else beats me to it. I’ve never tried it like that before but I think it should be fun. Does anyone have experience doing it this way?
From now through the end of the year I have something out of the house nearly every day. Gone are my hermit days of autumn. Live in the moment they say. I’ll be doing my best.