Last night was amazing. It was the biggest challenge in our Association’s history and you rose to the occasion. I could not be more proud of each of you who took time out of your busy lives to send a message, precisely delivered, to our elected officials and community. I believe we will fondly look back at this event as the moment that we took ownership in our community of the educational narrative. I thought the best way to convey the successes of the evening would be to give you some numbers.
650 – 800: Depending on whom you ask, we had between 650 and 800 people in our auditorium last night for the rally. This included TA members, our brothers and sisters from Mohonasen, Lake George, Shen, Schenectady, Ballston Spa, Scotia, and Niskayuna, politicians, NYSUT officials, parents, grandparents, students, administrators, and interested community members.
280: As of this morning, 280 people viewed our live stream of the event. If you missed it, you can still view the event and share with your friends. Thanks to Brad Thomas, Dave Somoza, and Roger Kopa for making this possible.
13: As in News Channel 13 who called our rally the “biggest” they had seen in the area and opened their 11 p.m. newscast with a report detailing the speakers, the message, and the goals. We couldn’t have asked for better. They proved how much they value education and teachers tonight. Here it is if you missed it:
150 (at least): 150 TA members (conservatively) attended the rally last night. It is the single largest voluntary mobilization of TA members in our history.
$5,000: The amount of support NYSUT provided us in the last two month as we prepared for this rally. Custom BH-BL branded signs, a mobile phone bank, pens, pencils, posters, proofreading, etc. NYSUT was the difference maker for us and helped make this grassroots action possible.
720: The number of bottles of water donated by TA members left over after last night’s rally. This doesn’t include the bottles that people drank.
1000+: The number of cookies baked, donated, and consumed last night by TA members. (My apologies Health and Wellness committees across the district!)
3 and 3: Three NYSUT officers (Mr Andy Pallotta, Mrs Catalina Fortino, and Mr. Martin Messner), and three politicians (Assemblyman James Tedisco) and their aides attended. All of these honored guests pulled themselves out of budgetary meetings to be with us and hear our message.
10 + 100: The 10 co-chairs of the four committees who helped plan and execute this incredibly complicated event. (Christine Layden, Regina Capobianco, Andrew Haluska, Jen Adams, Kim Shell, Laurie Berner, Stephanie Andrejcak, Jennifer Wolf, Jacki Grassmann, Gail Austro) Also, 100, the number of TA members who volunteered to follow the lead of the committee chairs. We can’t thank you enough!
8 and 1: Eight current and retired TA members and one community member who, when asked, responded to our call for speakers. Getting up in front of 650+ people and speaking from the heart is a terrifying proposition. Kim Ward, Mike Batty, Penny McDonnel, Tammy Flint, Andy Haluska, Sarah Trombodore, Nancy Ingersoll, Rocco Montesano, and Marie DiCristofaro made it look easy.
I can’t thank you all enough for your efforts and passion. It was beautiful and unlike anything I have ever seen in education. With numbers like these, nothing can stop us.