Teacher of the Year banquet overcomes problems uniquely

Ponca City Now - February 25, 2016 8:49 pm

Superintendent Dr. David Pennington hugs the 2017 Teacher of the Year, Lindsay Burkhalter, at the Teacher of the Year Banquet Thursday night.

By Beverly Bryant/News Director

Thursday night, Ponca City Public Schools hosted what may have been the oddest, most fun Teacher of the Year banquet yet.

With microphone problems that could have meant a disasterous evening, teachers and staff members came up with a creative — and highly functional — solution.

They sent all the speakers for the evening to the principal’s office. Yes, that’s right.

They were sent not for punishment, but instead to make their presentations over the Ponca City High School’s public address system.

Hearing their voices loud and clear was a treat compared to the squawky, silent troubling microphone set up for the evening.

Everyone in attendence rolled with the punches and adapted to the twists the fates threw at them.

Dr. David Pennington surrendered the podium and went to a center point in the Commons area so as many people as possible could hear what he had to say.

And Teacher of the Year 2017, Lindsay Burkhalter, a fourth grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary, pulled off her shoes and sprinted to the office to make her acceptance speech. She was quick on her feet to return to the Commons, too, to receive her honors, which included flowers from Dr. Pennington, a proclamation from the State of Oklahoma, a big check from the Ponca City Schools Foundation, and a check from Newkirk Dental Center.

Burkhalter’s date for the evening was one of her students from Lincoln, which made the evening all the more special.

Earlier in the evening, 2016 Teacher of the Year Christie Brown of Liberty Elementary spoke over the intercom, joking that she missed last year’s banquet because of a previously scheduled mission trip.

Thanks to some colleagues, she said, she was still able to have some face time during the banquet because of a phone connection.

"This year, I was hoping for some real face time, but this will have to do," she said. She stepped out of the principal’s office long enough to wave to the crowd and have them wave back.

Each of this year’s nominees were featured in a Teacher of the Year media presentation by Chris Adams Broadcast Engineer, an Mary Ladd, Media/Community Relations Coordinator. The presentation was created along the theme "The Value of a Teacher Is Timeless."

As each finalist was introduced, Shelley Arrott, Executive Director of Human Resources, read stories from each of their students telling the adults why their teacher was the best choice for the honor. Laughter and tears came in equal measure from the audience.

The banquet, for all its technical troubles, proved once again that educators will find a way around any problem to achieve their goals.


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