My visit with, and award from, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers

Posted on November 26, 2013
Yesterday the Louisiana Federation of Teachers tried to “off” me.
Not intentionally of course. They were actually being quite thoughtful, presenting me with a journalism award for my blog. There was one catch though. I would have to drive a few hundred miles to Alexandria and back though a freezing rain storm to retrieve it. (I think it would have been hard to find a more miserable day to hold a conference in Louisiana, nevertheless quite a few folks from all over the state made it a point to be there.)
I’ve only received one other award before, a Big Buddy Promise Award for a second/third grade child I was mentoring back in 2004/2005 who is soon going to graduate from high school. (My little buddy is now bigger than me so now I just call him whatever he tells me to call him.) I highly recommend getting involved in the Big Buddy Program , which is affiliated with United Way, as a mentor or in some other capacity if you live in Baton Rouge and have the time and spirit to donate to a child. (If you do decide to call them up tell Mrs. Gay I said “Hi!” She’s awesome.)
So this was a big deal to me, until I saw who my other co-nominee was, Tom Aswell of Louisiana Voice. (I heard Newman’s voice from Seinfeld in my head when I wrote that.) I had wondered who the other nominees for the School Bell award would be, but I didn’t ask, figuring it could be a surprise. I don’t mean to say I was disappointed it was Tom, per se, or that him being nominated took anything away from the prestige of the award (if anything it added to it in my mind) just that I was prepared for a more mainstream media type who I could play off of like I had at the last conference I recently attended in Atlanta. This meant trouble for me personally. Tom was a blogger too, but a better one, more widely known, and one with a big personality. I’d planned on using my speech as a guideline for what I would say or adlib, but most of the contrasts in my head were between what I do and what traditional media tries to do – with varying degrees of success.
Still, I had a few slim hopes left. . . that I would go first and stake out my own territory, or that Tom