The OEA held its annual convention in Tulsa last Thursday, and members were in for a special treat as the Association also celebrated the Oklahoma Centennial. As part of the opening session, Lance Brown, aka. Will Rogers, presented a tremendous routine reminiscent of a Rogers' performance during his reign as the top comedian of years ago. "Will" told us about his life and upbringing and how he got into comedy. He then treated us to some jokes of the times before talking about his observations of today. Lance did a tremendous job and I would highly recommend him for a performance.
The Convention started with our members congratulating finalists for State Teacher of the Year and Stepahnie Canada, the 2007 Teacher of the Year from Shawnee. Stephanie told the crowd how she was a born and raised in Oklahoma, a product of our public schools, and how committed she was to representing all of the great teachers in Oklahoma. Stephanie will do a great job representing all of what is great about our profession.
During my address, I talked about the leadership role our organization has played in the development of education in our state. Our influence has moved Oklahoma forward and we have been successful in providing quality education throughout our history. It was a great look back at our accomplishments, but we still have challenges ahead of us.
William Jennings Bryan said, "Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved." I believe his quote accurately describes the OEA and its ability to make things happen for better educational opportunities for our children and professional opportunities for our teachers. Because of our dedication and commitment to education, we've made, and continue to make, a positive difference for our state.
After the opening session, members had a number of professional development opportunities throughout the day. Another one with a great deal of Oklahoma "flavor" was the luncheon with the Oklahoma authors sponsored by Reasor's Grocery Stores. Authors Michael Johnson, Faith Clune, and Lance Brown shared their thoughts, ideas and insights into writing with 100 of our members. It was a great presentation and has been one of my favorites over the last few years.
While the day was filled with professional development opportunities, the OEA Convention also starts the opening of our budget hearings. OEA members provide the input to start the development of our budget. All of our members are encouraged to participate and help set the direction of our Association.
After the professional development and budget hearing, our closing session featured political satirist, Frosty Troy, lampooning Democrats and Republicans alike. After speaking, Frosty answered a variety of questions from the audience.The day ended with our cash prize giveaways sponsored by the OEA and its vendors.
The OEA Convention is always a great time for me to see friends from all over the state. There are so many people who attend every year. It was great seeing all of you and I appreciate all you do for Oklahoma's schools and kids. Thanks for your commitment to the organization and your profession.
With all that took place on Thursday, it was a special day for our Association as we celebrated both our state and organization's history while looking to make our own mark for future generations of Oklahoma Education Association members.