By Allen Payton
Rumors circulating through Antioch over the weekend have been confirmed, today that former First Lady Michelle Obama has been invited to speak at the Mary Allan Fellows Awards Dinner in Antioch on Sept. 19. The annual event hosted by the Antioch Schools Education Foundation will be held at the Lone Tree Golf & Event Center. Tickets are completely sold out.
In an email from Antioch School Board President Walter Ruehlig, he wrote that he had “heard from one other person that Michelle was invited by keynote guest speaker (National Counselor of the Year), who apparently knows her.”
The ad for the event states that it features “2017 National Counselor of the Year Terry Tchorzynski and Special Guest.” That special guest is presumed to be Mrs. Obama.
Ruehlig also wrote, “Incidentally, still unconfirmed that Michelle is actually coming; nothing yet in writing.”
Although the ad for the event has the Antioch Unified School District’s logo on it, they are not a sponsor of the event. They are a recipient of funds raised by the foundation, Ruehlig explained.
However, none of the board members of the foundation are allowed to speak about it, due to security concerns, according to someone else who did not want to be identified. That person said to call Antioch Police Chief Tammany Brooks.
It was also rumored that President Barack Obama was also invited, but that was not confirmed.
The four teachers who will be honored as Fellows the event are Tammy Ely-Kofford, 11th Grade Social Science teacher at Deer Valley High School; Jacey Renfroe, 5th Grade teacher at Marsh Elementary; Italo Rossi, 11th/12th Grade Human Anatomy & Physiology and AP Biology teacher at Antioch High School; and Frank Zrinski, Seventh Grade Science teacher at Antioch Middle School.
When reached for comment, Velma Wilson, chairman of the foundation board said about Tchorzynski’s connection to Obama, “She was awarded by Michelle as First Lady at her last speech.”
According to a Time Magazine article, “In 2015, Obama began a tradition of honoring the school counselor of the year as part of her Reach Higher initiative to encourage post-secondary education—an issue she has said she will continue to work on after leaving the White House.”
Regarding the tickets which sell out early every year, Wilson said, “The tickets have been sold out for two weeks. We give teachers first priority, every year.”
“We will be honoring all 35 counselors in the district for the first time ever,” she added as another reason the tickets sold out so quickly.
Attempts to reach Chief Brooks for this article were also unsuccessful.
Please check back later for any updates.