Tony Bennett Honors Indiana Teachers at Statehouse


Dozens of intriguing six-word essays peppered the Indiana Statehouse lobby on Monday, penned by anonymous Indiana students and parents speaking to the best attributes of a number of Hoosier teachers. The brief and sometimes emotive and/or hilarious posts came from all corners of the state.

A few of the funniest and most poignant:

>> “nice, funny, monotone but always helpful”
>> “She had the kindest eyes ever!”
>> “She explained everything when others didn’t.”
>> “You are my awesome fraction mother!”

This was Teacher Appreciation Week, and Indiana’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tony Bennett, paraded an assembly of educators into the Statehouse on a rainy afternoon to honor their commitment to learning and growing the next generation.

Last year’s Indiana teacher of the year, Stacy McCormack from Penn High School in Mishawaka, also addressed the crowd, which numbered about 200. A video featuring Governor Mitch Daniels, Lieutenant Governor Becky Skillman, Indiana Pacers announcer Clark Kellogg, and more public figures saw most of them weighing in on their own favorite teachers over time. Daniels desribed his 9th grade English instructor as “severe” and “unrelenting,” in the best way.

Bennett peppered his remarks with anecdotes from his days as an administrator and teacher in Scottsburg, Indiana, and a former student-athlete from the basketball team that he coached spoke to his leadership. “I’m not the warmest, fuzziest guy around,” Bennett said, “but I’d like to speak to you from the heart today.” He went on to relay affirming words to those present about the untold, unwitting impact that educators have in students’ lives.

At the outset of his comments, Bennett thanked the news media members in attendance and subsequently took the media at large to task, saying, “If we were here today to announce that a teacher had done something bad, the room would be packed with mics and notepads.”

The two-hour reception boasted performances by Broad Ripple Magnet High School’s string octet and varsity singers, both of which captivated attendees.


Photos by Jonathan Scott

>> ALSO: See our September 2011 feature story, “Tony Bennett Has All the Answers.”