The Walt Disney Company has been recognizing teachers since 1989. The focus of the Disney Hand Teacher Awards is to recognize the teaching profession, showcase creativity in the classroom, and honor those who can assist in developing creative teaching strategies in their school districts. Last year, each of the honorees was awarded $25,000, with their respective schools each receiving $2,500 from The Walt Disney Company. The big winner was given $25,000.
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 videos 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.
Have you seen these videos before?