With all the nasty political news, how about a feel-good story? It feels like an eternity in the news cycle, but it was just a week ago that Dustin Parsons,
a fifth-grade teacher in Bauxite, got the opportunity to speak before the Democratic National Convention
Parsons gave a brief speech on education last Tuesday evening, part of a panel of ordinary citizens talking about various progressive causes that they're involved with on the ground.
I caught up with Parsons by phone after his speech. He told me that he never expected that he would be addressing a national audience. The Clinton campaign got in touch with Parsons, a Clinton delegate, around a month ago to see whether he would be interested in speaking. Parsons found out for sure that he was speaking around a week before the big day. "It's been a whirlwind," he said.
Parsons said that her support for children's issues was one of the reasons he supports Clinton. "That's one thing we all have to come together on," he says. "When we look to the future, the future is our kids. She gets it."
Parsons has taught for five years at Pine Haven Elementary. Growing up, he was a student at Pine Haven when Clinton was first lady, and he credits some of her initiatives with improving Arkansas schools.
Parsons said that his speech represents a learning opportunity, and hopefully an inspiration, for his students back home:
I don't talk politics in my classroom, but what I tell my kids: set a goal and strive for it. There's nothing that's impossible. Don't limit yourself. I never dreamed I'd be standing on a national stage, on national television.