NIGHT TO SHINE, 2021
"Due to the ever-changing nature of the global COVID-19 pandemic...Night to Shine will be an unforgettable virtual experience." ~Tim Tebow Foundation
This is the fourth year our church has been a part of Night to Shine. (See posts 2/18/18, 2/11/19, 2/10/20) Each year the prom was amazing for our special guests and volunteers alike. But NTS 2021 looked a little different. Uh, a lot different!
On Friday, February 5, 2021, we hosted a Night to Shine "Shine-Thru" event. For our Red Carpet experience, we lined the driveway with lights and our "paparazzi." Music played while costumed characters and bundled up regular folks waved, cheered, and danced to the music as honored guests drove through. Each guest received their official Night to Shine swag bag with gifts as well as their crowns and information on connecting to the worldwide Virtual Night to Shine prom. Our local fire department even sent a fire truck to add to the excitement. It was quite cold here in northeast Ohio that night, and as guests drove through, it snowed. Perhaps the snow was confetti from heaven celebrating our special guests.
Friday, February 12, 2021, was the Virtual Night to Shine prom hosted by Tim Tebow and his lovely wife, Demi-Leigh. (She was Miss Universe 2017.) They welcomed all the guests and volunteers, and through the magic of video provided a virtual red carpet walk complete with face-masked paparazzi taking pictures and holding love note signs. Then began the warm wishes of celebrities from around the world which included the 2018 and 2019 Miss Universe pageant winners, singers, actors and actresses, professional and Olympic athletes, and TV personalities. I counted 21 in all. There were interludes of music for Dance Along and Sing Along, which mimicked the very popular NTS karaoke activity. Also, from previous NTS proms were video clips from around the world. And then the very special moment of each NTS prom - the crowing of all the Kings and Queens.
Let's hope and pray that through 2021, COVID-19 fades away and soon gathering together in large groups can be done safely for all. Anticipating an awesome Night to Shine in 2022!
"A snow day literally and figuratively falls from the sky, unbidden, and seems like a thing of wonder." ~Susan Orlean
The other day a friend emailed asking if I took January off from my blog. I hadn't intentionally planned that, but clearly, it happened. After my vague excuse, he jokingly retorted with words like PJs, Lazy Boy, and back to reality. I laughed! Let me add, he was my Principal for the first half of my teaching career. Now we're both retired educators. In retirement, he pursued photography and shares many beautiful nature shots. He's got a good eye for impressive pictures.
As I pondered our email conversation and blog topic options, chatter of snowstorms heading our way caught my attention. Sunday evening television stations started scrolling schools closed Monday due to weather. Truthfully, I still get excited for teachers and students when schools get snow days.
Fast forward to 2020 and beyond. Much of education happens remotely. We've heard debates and stances for no need for snow days since students and teachers can just go into remote mode if getting to school was not safe due to weather. Some administrators announced they were not going to get rid of snow days; others planned to banish snow days as unnecessary in this new modern era. Have these administrators and powers that be forgotten the excitement of those unexpected days off school, either as a student or as teachers in a classroom? Really, who hasn't relished a snow day, or even done a snow dance?
Many have considered snow days as mental health days. A report from WRAL-Durham shared that Millie Rosen, a teacher at Durham School of the Arts in North Carolina, called snow days "magical days" for both students and teachers. Well said! Snow days remain in my mind as one of those unexpected blessings and wonders that "literally and figuratively falls from the sky!"