Knox teacher meets President Biden, first lady in DC

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 8, 2021

SALISBURY – Felecia Young had a memorable Independence Day in proximity to some of the most powerful people in the world.

The Knox Middle School math teacher was recently invited to take part in a celebration, with her family, on the White House South Lawn. The invitees were all essential workers such as teachers, health care workers, emergency responders, farmers and military service members.

Young said she had no idea what to expect when she arrived and there were three security checkpoints to get on to the lawn. When the Youngs made it through security, they were greeted with all the food they could ask for, open bars and treats for the kids that they could indulge in all night. Of course, there were fireworks to end the night.

“Everything from start to the end was amazing,” Young said.

Young sat with a group of educators from Indiana and connected with a principal. They found they had a lot in common to share about the last year.

“Even though we were in different places we had the same experience,” Young said.

She said the daily struggles and the stress on the families was the same.

Young was able to speak to the first lady for a few minutes during the event. Jill Biden is an educator as well and currently serves as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College.

Young spoke to her about the experience of the last year teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic. Young told Biden even though it was difficult, the experience showed her what she was capable of.

Young said she had broken away from her family and Biden was kind enough to take a second photo with her family after she found them.

Young was able to shake President Joe Biden’s hand as well, but said the interaction was different because he was being bombarded by everyone at the event. She said he was shaking hands and speaking to other people at the same time just to keep up. He shook her daughter Kayla’s hand as well.

Young was in Washington, D.C., with her family on the Fourth of July nine years ago. At the time, her oldest son was in a stroller and the family was on the other side of the fence at the White House.

Gov. Roy Cooper picked Young for an invitation to the event personally. She said that point was more special to her after she spoke to other people at the party.

“Not a lot of people were invited by their governors,” Young said, adding many of the people she spoke to were a couple degrees of separation from someone who was a White House staffer.

Young was featured in Cooper’s State of the State address earlier this year and was part of a video series on essential workers his office produced ahead of the speech. He visited Knox Middle School in June to meet her in person as well.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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