January 17, 2020 -- In Support of the College Football Playoff Foundation
I'm still pinching myself after an incredible week in New Orleans with the College Football Playoff Foundation. Representing the incredible educators in the state of Nebraska was both an honor and a privilege, and I hope that I did my students and colleagues in the Heartland proud.
Before this experience, I had no idea of the generosity and stewardship of the College Football Playoff Foundation (CFPF). You may have heard of their Extra Yard for Teachers initiative? It's incredible. In every city the Playoff visits, CFPF gifts schools with classroom and media center makeovers, provides free (yes, that's right -- FREE) professional learning opportunities to area teachers, and showers educators with once-in-a-lifetime experiences and swag. To say that the CFPF acknowledges and respects teachers would be an understatement.
While in New Orleans, I had the opportunity to attend the Extra Yard for Teachers Summit. The event featured world slam poetry champion Joaquin Zihuatanejo, former Bachelorette and current incredible human being Rachel Lindsay, 2019 National Teacher of the Year Rodney Robinson, 2017 National Teacher of the Year Sydney Chaffee, teacher/comedian Eddie B., astronaut Bernard Harris, Jr, and performances by local high school bands. Lauren Daigle even made a surprise guest appearance to show gratitude to the great teachers she had growing up in Louisiana.
There was a palpable sense of joy in the room. A room full of teachers were given a shared space to dance, laugh, rejoice, and to have our cups refilled. Together with Rodney Robinson, we chanted in unison, "I am a revolutionary!" And we felt it. Did I mention that the College Football Playoff Foundation gave everyone free food, drinks, and swag bags? Remember, this was a totally free event, not a conference with a registration fee of hundreds of dollars. No one paid a dime to walk in the door, and the CFPF made us feel appreciated, loved, needed, and seen.
As "special guests" of the CFPF, our 2019 class of state teachers of the year was honored on the field during the National Anthem. We were gifted with gear from Nike and Dr. Pepper to wear on the field, but we were also given full swag bags in appreciation of the work we do for our kids. This included a signed copy of Becoming by Michelle Obama, personalized footballs, Nike backpacks, and so many other meaningful gifts. I can't think of any other moment where I have felt so appreciated as a teacher by someone other than my students (I teach the best kids in the world). I hope every teacher feels this way in their career, and it is clear that this is the mission of the CFPF.
I was already a huge college football fan (Go Dawgs!). Now, I'm a huge College Football Playoff Foundation fan, too.