Vidor teacher named Groundhog Ambassador of the Year

Published 2:08 pm Wednesday, February 7, 2018

To The Leader

It’s not often that you get to cross something really cool and crazy off your ‘life list,’ but VHS teacher Leslie Sparks did just that as she was named the Groundhog Ambassador of the Year and got to meet THE groundhog.  With VHS teacher Land friend Susan Robinson, Sparks flew to Pittsburg last Thursday and drove to Punxsutawney for the festivities.

Thursday evening the pair​  attended the Groundhog Club reception, met members of the Inner Circle and Phil (the​  groundhog who either sees his shadow or doesn’t, predicting whether or not winter is nearly over​).

From there they​  went to the Groundhog Club Banquet where the Punxsutawney Chamber of Commerce and the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club announced that Ms. Sparks​  was the 2018-2019 Groundhog Ambassador of the year.  The next morning the duo​ headed out in a snowstorm and 10 degree weather to attend the Groundhog Day jubilation.

There were fireworks comparable to Disney World and typically there are about 20,000 in attendance Sparks wasn’t sure of this year’s actual number, but was still so excited to be there.

“Susan, my sister and I were given VIP Inner Circle passes to be up front and were welcomed on stage at one point with Phil and the Inner Circle, ” Sparks said.

After Phil’s ‘6 more weeks of winter’ prediction, she​ was interviewed on air with KLVI’s Al Caldwell then by Jim Cantore and Jen Carfagno from the Weather Channel.

It wasn’t until Sunday that she found out her​  segment was shown throughout the day on Groundhog Day.

​Sparks is ​ already planning on Groundhog Day in Punxsutawney next year.

​She said, “​I have always loved Groundhog​  Day and it’s been on my Living List (AKA Bucket List) for years.  I had made plans to attend before Harvey hit this year.  Like so many others I lost my home as well and am still living in an RV with my husband and two children.  This did put a big damper on me going but it wasn’t going to stop me.  I was determined to go and I did it.  I’ve had a Living List for nearly 20 years. I’ve gotten many things done on it and am continuously working on it and adding to it.  My mantra is ‘A dream is just that until you write it down.  Then it becomes a goal.”

​Sparks​  had several friends from the local area as well as New York, and Hawaii email the Groundhog Club about her​  love of Groundhog Day.  They also talked about her Living List and the activities she does​ in her​  Child Development class and​  Ready, Set, Teach classes each year.