Thursday, May 24, was a typical day for first grade teacher Tiffini Cooley and physical education teacher Randall Powell at Joseph Brennemann Elementary School on Chicago’s north side.
Little did they know, that afternoon would bring forth a big surprise! Leading up to Teacher’s Appreciation Week earlier this month, the Black McDonald’s Operators Association of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana (BMOA) partnered with Chicago radio station WGCI-FM to promote a contest asking listeners to share, in 200 words or less, why their teacher deserved to win a free trip to New Orleans for the 2012 Essence Music Festival.
Cooley and Powell were selected as the winners.
On Thursday, as the teachers conducted their regular afternoon classes, WGCI radio personality Tony Sculfield, along with BMOA members Lance Jones and Melvin Buckley, school principal Sarah D. Abedelal and school administrator Jennifer Ellen interrupted the sessions bearing balloons and other gifts.
As their students shrieked with excitement, the surprised teachers were each presented an oversized airline boarding pass highlighting a trip for two to New Orleans. Their prizes also include Essence Music Festival VIP access, hotel accommodations and spending money.
Drawing more than 350,000 attendees annually, the Essence Music Festival features some of the top names in R&B and Soul music. This year’s line-up includes D’Angelo, Mary J. Blige, Estelle, Aretha Franklin and many more.
BMOA is a membership organization of 15 owner operators who are dedicated to empowering minds and building leaders in the communities they serve. This is achieved through signature educational and community outreach programs, employment and career development programs and embodiment of the spirit of entrepreneurship.
BMOA members are committed to assisting the next generation of McDonald’s owner operators, encouraging the importance of reading, writing and life skills, and giving back to the community.
In the picture above: (From L to R): School administrator Jennifer Ellen; BMOA Member Lance Jones; grand prize winner, physical education teacher, Randall Powell; BMOA member Melvin Buckley; WGCI-FM radio personality Tony Sculfield, and school principal Sarah D. Abedelal at Joseph Brennemann Elementary School.