National Distinguished Principal Class of 2012 Awards Banquet and Ball

At lunch I picked up a special surprise for Mrs. Wheaton, a beautiful orchid wrist corsage that I ordered for her to wear that matched her dress color. I also made a reservation at a nearby hair salon so that she could get her hair done! I wanted this to be a special night for her, just as it was for me! Here is the first look at Mrs. Wheaton’s hair and beautiful dress!

The back of Mrs. Wheaton’s hair! So beautiful!

First picture of Mrs. Wheaton all dressed up for the ball! Beautiful!

Your National Distinguished Principal and my First Lady ready for the ball!

We spent time looking just perfect and  went down to the Senate Room in the hotel to have our picture taken professionally by Lifetouch studios. I got to hold a picture card just like you do on Picture Day at our school. First, they took a picture of me alone and then a couple of pictures of the both of us in our evening wear! I will receive these in a few weeks. Here is the first photo of the two of us all dressed up and ready for the evening!

When we went to the door of the reception room, we picked up an envelope with our name on it. Inside was our table assignment. Mrs. Wheaton and I were placed at table 3.

The seat assignment card I opened. We sat at a table with the director of the Michigan Elementary Principal’s Association, Paul Liabenow and his wife Bonnie, the Executive Director of the National Association of Superintendents and his wife and a principal from Holly, Michigan and a friend of the arts.

The first part of the evening was a reception where one could get a beverage to drink and eat some appetizers. Waiters and waitresses brought around special food for people to try. The first thing that we noticed when we went into this room was the carved ice sculpture with the NDP logo. This was an informal opportunity to talk with one another before we went into the Ballroom. I had our book with me and Rick Walton’s book Mr. President Goes to School. I knew that President Obama wouldn’t be attending the affair, but hoped that I could get our book to Arne Duncan the Secretary of Education.

The soon to be awarded National Distinguished Principal posing by the ice sculpture.

When the reception time was over, big bi-fold doors opened up to review the beautiful ballroom and the elegantly set tables. Each table had a number on it and we found our table near the very front of the room and closest to the head table and podium. I tucked our book underneath the edge of the stage so noone would trip over it. I was in the perfect spot to be able to leave quickly to hopefully give our book to Mr. Duncan.

Here are some pictures of the elegantly set tables!

Check out the pat of butter shaped like the US Capitol!

We were greeted by the President of the NAESP, Mr. Mark Terry and he shared a few words of recognition and welcome. Mrs. Gail Connelly, the Executive Director of NAESP was next. She affirmed our worth as leaders and then introduced Arne Duncan the Secretary of Education. Mr. Duncan gave a well-received speech and he did not use any notes at all! We all clapped when he told us that his children go to public schools in Virginia and he spoke highly of his own children’s principal. Maybe he or she will be the NDP for Virginia Class of 2013! He spoke of the importance of education for all and the importance of a good principal at every school. He thanked us for our leadership and affirmed us for making a difference in the lives of children. Gail Connelly, the Executive Director then thanked Mr. Duncan for his support of public education and told him to continue to fight for the rights of children to receive a free and public education. Mr. Duncan was surprised to receive his own certificate of appreciation and a bell inscribed with his name on it just like the ones we would receive soon. This was my moment, he thanked everyone for the gifts and began exiting out the door. I told Mrs. Wheaton to grab the camera, I picked up our book and ran after him out the door. I politely told him about our book and wondered if he could get it to the President for us. He said that he would and accepted it and signed Rick Walton’s book for our library! Here are some pictures of me and Mr. Duncan!

Presenting Secretary of Education Arne Duncan with our book If I Were the President I Would . . .

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan signed our library copy of Rick Walton’s book, Mr. President Goes to School. He wrote: Mattawan Early Elementary School Keep Reading!

NAESP Executive Director, Gail Connelly and yours truly!

I felt so excited because I had been lugging our book around for days and now it was safely to its destination. Good job! I walked back to my seat and it was time to begin eating. We had a five course meal of salad, soup, breads, steak, and then dessert shaped like the White House made with white chocolate and filled with chocolate mousse, fresh fruit and a chocolate emblem of the NDP insignia!

I ate the insides of the White House dessert and a little chunk of the white chocolate roof!

After dinner we were welcomed back to order by the president of NAESP, Mark Terry and preparations were made for the presentation of the awards. Earlier in the day we had practiced how to line up, get our certificate, wait for a picture with President Terry, then precede to get our bell and another picture opportunity. Everyone was filled with smiles and so excited about this much anticipated moment. Official photographs of the event will be sent to us from Lifetouch in a few weeks. Click on the link to watch the short video of me receiving my award and bell.  Presentation to Mr. Wheaton, Michigan’s NDP

After everyone received their award, we were invited to stand and ring our bells in unison in honor of every child throughout the world to ensure education for all. It was a touching moment. You can view some pictures of me with my bell and click on the link to view a video of the bell ringing ceremony. National Distinguished Principals, Ring Your Bell!

It’s official! Mr. Wheaton, National Distinguished Principal for the State of Michigan, Class of 2012!

Last but not least, there was a live band for the rest of the evening. Time for Mrs. Wheaton and I to try out our dance moves. We enjoyed dancing and chatting with other NDP’s and guests. It had been a wonderful couple of days and people began leaving soon after the dancing began. But, not me! I stayed until the very end and sang with the band members on stage with the band! The last song was one of my favorites-”What a Wonderful World.” There were only two couples left to enjoy the last song! It was so fitting that the band played the Hokey Pokey! Of course, I participated! Here is a video link to see me in action: Do the Hokey Pokey, That’s What It’s All About!

It had been a wonderful night filled with memories that I will never forget and certainly it is a Wonderful World!

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One thought on “National Distinguished Principal Class of 2012 Awards Banquet and Ball

  1. Jen Hoffman

    Congratulations Mr. Wheaton! We have enjoyed reading your blog and thanks for letting us share in this special event. What a blessing you are to some many!

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