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Sara Ferguson, Pennsylvania Teacher, To Sit With Michelle Obama During State Of The Union

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Chester Upland School District teacher Sara Ferguson.
Chester Upland School District teacher Sara Ferguson.

When the troubled Chester Upland School District in Pennsylvania was drained of funding, officials realized they couldn't afford to pay its staff after January 11.

But that didn't stop teachers and support staff, who said they would keep working without pay, "as long as we are individually able," The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

When the educators gathered to make their resolution, Columbus Elementary School math and literacy teacher Sara Ferguson was featured in the Inquirer piece. She has taught in Chester Upland for 21 years.

"It's alarming. It's disturbing. But we are adults; we will make a way," she said at the time. "The students don't have any contingency plan. They need to be educated, so we intend to be on the job."

Tonight, Ferguson will take a seat in the First Lady's box, joining Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address. Ferguson will be blogging for HuffPost about her evening with the First Lady at the Capitol.

UPDATE Jan. 25: Read Ferguson's blog, exclusively for HuffPost, here.

The White House described Ferguson as someone who "sees education as a vehicle of change in our society, and feels privileged to have touched the lives of so many students."

In a statement Tuesday, Ferguson said she is "thrilled" by President Barack Obama's invitation to the address.

"This invitation means that education is important to our president and the success of students is important to our president," Ferguson told The Washington Post. "Equity of education across the country for all students regardless of their zip code is important to our country."

Chester Upland's statistics reflect a dismal 51 percent graduation rate last year, coupled with enrollment numbers that have declined by 20 percent and test scores that "regularly rank near or at the bottom of Pennsylvania's 500 school systems," according to The Inquirer. More than one-third of the city's population is considered impoverished.

Check back tonight on HuffPost Education after the President's speech for the exclusive first-person account on Ferguson's attendance at the State of the Union.

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