On Wednesday, August 14, 2013, I was standing in the school parking lot of Burton International School in Detroit, Michigan. Everything was very quiet on the side street of this small neighborhood, until suddenly, I heard the roar of an engine. The engine roared louder as I stood close to the school with children, parents, and teachers. As the #39 race car driven by NASCAR driver Ryan Newman came into view, a loud cheer erupted from the crowd. Quicken Loans had its logo on the hood of the car, but this week was a special week for PTA. The hood of the car read, “National PTA. Every Child. One Voice.” The entire car was decorated in bright colors like a crayon box with “National PTA” in several locations. This was just one of many exciting days to come.
That Friday could not have been more perfect. With the help of Jonesville Community PTA President Sherri Groves, and the Principal Johanna Curson, 25 fifth-grade students and parents or guardians loaded a school bus and headed to Michigan International Speedway. I am sure they will never forget that ride, or that day. The day started with rides in the pace cars, racing around the track at 120 mph! Next, it was off to do a PIT tour and meet driver Ryan Newman. Ryan talked with the group about how important it was to stay in school, to work hard, and to follow their dreams. As I sat in the back of the room observing all of the activities, it dawned on me how many dads were there with their daughters. I thought about how many of them, like myself, had taken the day off from work to attend this event. I wondered if they knew how important these memories are to their children.
On Sunday,we arrived at Michigan International Speedway shortly before 9 a.m. We parked and headed to the Quicken Loan Suite to watch the race. I had never been to a NASCAR race before, so I was a little excited and anxious. The announcer introduced the drivers and their sponsors, and when they introduced Ryan Newman, I heard them say “sponsored by Quicken Loans and National PTA.” What a proud moment! I was proud and honored to be a PTA member. I watched as the race cars went around the two-mile track 200 times. Each time #39 went by I had chills as the PTA logo sped by at 200 mph.
Teresa Marhofer is the President of the Michigan State PTA.