DeKalb County educator Deborah Broom-Cooley now knows what it feels like to be treated like a celebrity.
In mid-July Cooley and her husband Henry Cooley Jr. spent a whirlwind weekend getting the royal treatment: a hotel stay, lunch with a local television personality, use of a luxury vehicle, consultation with a personal trainer, a yoga session, VIP treatment at a concert and a play, dinner and more.
They didn’t pay a dime as she was being honored for her contributions to education. Cooley was selected to be featured in The Celebrity Series, a new online program that recognizes individuals who help others in a big way.
“I’m a little tired,” said Broom-Cooley after the three-day swirl of activity. “I’m very humbled. It was everything I like to do.”
Deborah Broom-Cooley has been working in the DeKalb school system for eight years—most recently as a reading specialist at the DeKalb Transitional Academy. She previously worked in Atlanta Public Schools. She splits her residency between Decatur and New Orleans and is also an adjunct professor at Delgado Community College in New Orleans.
According to organizers of The Celebrity Series, Broom-Cooley was selected because she “works diligently and successfully to set a new course in the lives of teenage students with troubled pasts. Cooley’s unique teaching methodologies allow her to reach and teach students generally deemed un-teachable and cast away by society. Dr. Cooley’s commitment and dedication has won her numerous ‘Teacher of the Year’ honors by her peers and, most importantly, the respect and gratitude of the many young people whose lives she’s helped transform.”
“This is just a beginning of the monthly series that will celebrate people across the nation who from the heart live to serve with love and honor,” said Michael Andre Adams, the originator of the program. “They’re not rich or famous, just good people giving their absolute best in all they do without any expectation of something special in return. These are the true celebrities.”
Adams, a travel writer, used his connections in the travel and entertainment industry to get businesses to donate luxury experiences for the Cooleys.
“As a travel and lifestyle writer, I am privy to some of the best experiences the world has to offer,” said Adams.
Among the couple’s weekend experiences: overnight accommodations at Loew’s Hotel Atanta, luncheon at Loew’s Eleven Restaurant with surprise guest WXIA news anchor Brenda Wood, use of a 2012 Infiniti QX56 SUV, dinner at The Spence restaurant, breakfast at Highland Bakery, spa treatments at Spa at Serenbe followed by lunch, tickets to True Colors Theater Company’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner and a jazz concert at Mable House Barnes Amphitheatre, a yoga class and consultation with a personal trainer.
“It was like a vacation,” she said.
Broom-Cooley said she was so overwhelmed by some of the experiences that she called friends and co-workers and tried to share some of it—inviting them to the presidential suite at the Loew’s Hotel Atlanta for a gathering that lasted from 11:30 p.m. until 3:30 a.m.
“It was too much just for me to have,” said Broom-Cooley.
She added that everyone she encountered over the weekend expressed their gratitude for her work as a teacher.
“I was surprised at the level of respect they have for educators,” said Broom-Cooley. “They almost had tears in their eyes.”
Since 2000, Adams has contributed travel and auto content to various outlets, including the Travel Channel, the Weather Channel, Business Travel Executive, Business Traveler, Black Enterprise, Upscale, Where and other media.
Beginning in August 2012, The Celebrity Series will run monthly on Traveling In My World (www.travelinginmyworld.com), with video at Youtube and other media outlets.