By Paul T. Choate
Jan. 10, 2013. Bethel Elementary School third-grade teacher Darcy Grimes, the 2012 North Carolina Teacher of the Year, will introduce Gov. Pat McCrory tomorrow night at the North Carolina Governor’s Inaugural Ball in Raleigh.
Grimes said she understood this to be the first time a teacher has been asked to introduce the governor at the Inaugural Ball and said she was honored to have the opportunity.
“It’s so exciting that they want a teacher to be the one introducing the governor,” she said. “So it’s great for not only me in Watauga but also for all teachers across North Carolina.”
Grimes was contacted by the Junior League of Raleigh about three weeks ago to give the introduction and said she has been preparing her speech ever since. She was informed the speech needed to be limited to 20 to 30 seconds but said she has been very impressed with the freedom she has been given to say what she wants.
“I know I’ll only be talking for about 30 seconds in the introduction, but I want those 30 seconds to be a strong 30 seconds for teachers,” she said.
Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Grimes said she had been “very nervous” about her moment in the spotlight yesterday and this morning, but said upon getting to visit the stage and do some microphone checks this afternoon she is feeling more confident.
“I’m just more excited right now,” she said. “My nerves have kind of gone away for the time being and I’m just so excited to have this opportunity. It feels real now and I’m ready for it to get here too.”
Though not willing to give away too much of the speech, Grimes said she was able to work in a shout-out to Appalachian State University, her alma mater.
“I actually met Pat McCrory for the first time at an Appalachian football game, so I’ve been able to kind of squeeze that into the speech,” she said.
Inauguration festivities kick off tonight with the Council of State reception from 6 to 9 p.m., followed by the “Rock the Ball” celebration from 9 p.m. to midnight.
The Governor’s Reception will be held tomorrow from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Raleigh Convention Center, followed by the gala presentation from 8 to 9 p.m. featuring The Avett Brothers and other North Carolina acts.
Grimes will introduce Gov. McCrory at the conclusion of the gala at 9 p.m. immediately prior to the Inauguration Ball, which lasts until midnight.
To watch the event live online tomorrow evening, visit abclocal.go.com/wtvd.
Watauga is well represented during the inauguration festivities. On Wednesday, Gov. McCrory, in conjunction with the Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, released the participants in the 2013 Inaugural parade. This year’s parade will be held on Saturday, Jan. 12, in downtown Raleigh and will include participants from around the state.
Among those participating in the parade are members of the Appalachian State “Marching Mountaineers” marching band.
“The Inaugural parade is a celebrated tradition in North Carolina,” said Gov. McCrory in a statement. “I look forward to welcoming all the parade participants to Raleigh for an Inaugural celebration focused on our state, its people and the bright future we will all create together.”
The Inaugural parade will take place at 12:30 p.m. following the Inaugural Ceremony and the Inaugural Address. The parade will start at the intersection of Fayetteville Street and Davie Street, travel north on Fayetteville Street until turning right onto Hargett Street before traveling north on Wilmington Street. The parade route ends at the intersection of Wilmington Street and E. Lane Street.