Clay Aiken – DisneyHand Awards

On July 25, 2004, in Anaheim, California, Jeffrey Thompson, a kindergarten teacher from Fort Lewis, Washington took home the top honors at the DisneyHand Teacher Awards. There were originally 150,000 nominees and Thompson was chosen by his peers as the DisneyHand Teacher of the Year. Besides the honor of the award, Thompson was awarded $40,000.

A new award was also presented that night.  Called the Youth Service America Award, it was awarded to Hector Ibarra as a creative and inspiring teacher.  Ibarra was a middle school teacher in Iowa.

The special guest for the evening was Clay Aiken who presented the two awards to the outstanding teachers.  Clay, a former special education teacher, attended the awards dinner with two of his favorite teachers from his high school in Raleigh, North Carolina. They both took the stage with him as he honored the outstanding teachers of 2004.

The entertainment of the evening was highlighted by a performance of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” sung by Clay and a children’s choir.

According to the press release from Disney Hand:

All teachers involved in the 2004 DisneyHand Teacher Awards enjoyed a five-day extravaganza at The Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, Calif. July 22-26, which culminated in the Awards Gala on July 25th. Throughout the week, the teachers learned innovative approaches to teaching, learning and leadership at professional development programs; attended exclusive VIP events/parties; appeared at a ceremony at Disneyland Park where they were honored by Mickey Mouse; appeared in a parade down Main Street; and shone with glamorous new looks from “costume designer to the stars,” Ret Turner.

Clay looked relaxed as he spoke to the audience of teachers and his singing was outstanding.  Fortunately, we have video of Clay’s part of the evening. My favorite is Clay’s speech about the Youth Service Award.  But, of course, the other two are outstanding too.

Teacher of the Year


Youth Service Award


Bridge Over Troubled Water


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  1. How exciting to wake up on a Saturday morning to new clack. Never saw any of this before. It made me so proud to watch. I noticed at the end of the second award how Clay took that little girl’s hand at the end. She had seemed a bit nervous and he knew just the right thing to do.

    He is a good man and my love, respect and admiration for him just grows every day.

  2. Wow. This was fantastic!!!!! Thank you Musicfan.

    I’m with you RIF….what a good man….his actions speak for themselves…. He is kind, caring and so articulate. My love just keeps growing for him as well. Amazing…

    Musicfan…what a wonderful job…I love this..people need to see especially this today…. It’s kind of quiet today, and watching these videos, just touched my heart, and yanked at it today…I’m gonna go back and watch them again… I love listening to Clay speak…


  3. Wow- I don’t remember seeing all of those clips before. How nice to see them! They just further my belief that at the very core of Clay is his desire to make a difference in the lives of all children. His delight at singing with the children is clearly evident. Thanks so much for bringing us this-really a treat! Clay looks great too!

  4. I REALLY needed this this morning – Clay Aiken working on behalf of kids and teachers. Absolutely WONDERFUL!!!

    RIF – I noticed him taking the little girl’s hand too, that is just so Clay – he always knows just what to do.

  5. I don’t recall seeing these award videos before. How cute was he? And so articulate. I loved seeing the kids choir singing with him.

    Thanks for reminding us of these important awards, and the video of BOTW.

  6. AND………..I love the suit!! Clay looked so good!!

    I hope lots see these videos as they really show Clay being Clay.

  7. I don’t believe I have ever seen these video’s of Clay at this Disneyland Presentation. I have seen picture’s before though. I just loved his speech…and when he sings BOTW…it is just amazing.

    This just shows what a good man he is…and I am so proud of him in everything he does. Thank you so much for showing these wonderful video’s of him. I really enjoyed it.

  8. And, musicfan, there is just nothing better than Clay being Clay. One of the things I adore about him is that very thing–he is REAL and has a heart of gold.

  9. What great memories these videos brought back! I am so proud to be a fan of Clay Aiken. He is an inspiration!

  10. This was all new clack for me. I was thrilled to sit an watch this and had to watch it several times. Clay never ceases to amaze me with his heart of gold and his love for children all over the world. BOTW was flawless and the children loved singing with him as he loved singing with them. That was so sweet and just like Clay to help the little girl at the end. I love being a fan of Clay Aiken.

  11. Oh, my goodness. Thank you so much for these videos, which I’ve never seen before either.

    I loved him then, I love him now. He is just a really, really nice person. The fact that he has a wonderful voice is just the icing on the cake.

  12. Wonderful, wonderful memories!!!! Love hearing Clay sing BOTW and his intelligence just shines through when he’s speaking!! Your research into so many of Clay’s past experiences just reconfirms over and over why this man is so special!! It’s always fun and informative visiting this site daily!!

  13. Musicfan,

    Thank you for another great blog showing the inspirational person Clay Aiken is. Like others, I am seeing these videos for the first time.

    Many thnx for your kind comments at the Carolina blog. Have a great weekend!


  14. Another great blog with a wonderful Clay Aiken memory!
    Thanks for the story along with the videos!

  15. Thank you for another great blog which shows Clay as the wonderful human being that he was and still is. This is the first time I saw these videos and really enjoyed them. Thanks again.

  16. Clay Aiken is an amazing man. These videos are wonderful and really show the real Clay Aiken.

    Thank you for this article and the videos!!

  17. Another great walk down memory lane. Your blogs are always a treat.

    I do not remember seeing these videos before. Thanks for posting them.

  18. How did I miss these? I have never seen these before. Clay
    Aiken is certainly in his element when talking about his children with disabilities. Thank you for this.

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