Educating Oklahoma children takes a village as the old saying goes. The Teachers Appreciation Foundation is working to make sure that village gets its due.
The Teachers Appreciation Foundation started 8 years ago when Karim Mahamed wanted to celebrate his mother who just retired from teaching.
“She said no, I’ve been to enough banquets and stuff, and she wasn’t really sold on the idea,” said Karim Muhammad, organizer for the TAF Awards.
But Karim wouldn’t take no for an answer and decided to ask his mom again. She had some ideas for him.
“She said, ‘have you ever been at these banquets and heard about a custodian getting recognized or honored? What about the school bus driver or cafeteria workers?’” said Karim.
That struck a cord with Karim. He decided to seek out the unsung heroes of our school districts and thank them for their selfless work.
“It’s unprecedented. They’ve never been acknowledged that way. So, they’re expression is, sometimes they cry, tears of joy,” said Karim.
The event is a red-carpet formal, complete with dinner and dancing.
“When you get recognized for doing what you love, it’s kind of a bonus,” said Thomas McNeely, principal at Capitol Hill High school and also a past honoree.
“It is a job that, you know you get into it, and you’re not going to get into it to become super wealthy, but you get into it because you want to help students out,” said McNeely.
In recent years the foundation has expanded the recognitions.
“Pastors, community leaders, mayors, lieutenant governors, governors,” said Karim.
A night of recognition for those who spend their time investing in our youth.
“It is the Grammy’s for dignitaries, educators, and support staff,” said Karim.
The TAF foundation is not affiliated with a particular school or school district.
The banquet is this Saturday at Il Bellagio Center and Conventions, 2121 West Hefner Rd. Tickets are not available at the door. For tickets of more information visit www.TAF5.org or call (405) 523-3488.