Glenwood Elementary School teacher Mackenzie Adams in front of the camera in Seattle for Wednesday night’s inauguration TV special. (Contributed photo)

Glenwood Elementary School teacher Mackenzie Adams in front of the camera in Seattle for Wednesday night’s inauguration TV special. (Contributed photo)

Our viral kindergarten teacher had an inauguration TV cameo

Mackenzie Adams, of Lake Stevens, appeared on Wednesday’s prime-time special, introducing Foo Fighters.

LAKE STEVENS — At the start of the school year, teacher Mackenzie Adams posted a TikTok video from her Lake Stevens kindergarten class.

It was a lesson Adams gave ever-so-patiently over an online video call, teaching the kids both how to identify the number “four” and how to unmute themselves on Zoom.

More than 14 million people watched the 60-second clip, and Adams became a face of teachers across the country who were forced to move classes online with little warning or training, due to the pandemic.

On Wednesday evening, Adams spoke to a national audience on a TV special for the inauguration of President Joe Biden.

“Like many educators, my passion is engaging young minds, whether in the classrooms or through a computer screen — I happened to go viral because of it,” she said. “It’s been a difficult year for our students, and I am so proud of all the teachers, parents and students across the country who have adapted and made the best out of a tough time.”

The Glenwood Elementary School teacher was on screen for about 40 seconds before introducing a musical performance by Dave Grohl, who is known for playing in two bands with Seattle roots — Nirvana and Foo Fighters.

“Mackenzie Adams reminds me of another outstanding teacher who holds a very special place in my heart,” Grohl said. “My mother, Virginia, who was a public school teacher for 35 years.”

Glenwood Elementary School teacher Mackenzie Adams (left) introduced the Foo Fighters during President Biden’s “Celebrating America” inauguration special Wednesday evening. (YouTube screenshot)

Glenwood Elementary School teacher Mackenzie Adams (left) introduced the Foo Fighters during President Biden’s “Celebrating America” inauguration special Wednesday evening. (YouTube screenshot)

“This year, our teachers were faced with unprecedented challenges, but through dedication and creativity they faced those challenges head-on,” Grohl continued. “So this next song is for Mackenzie, and all our unshakable teachers that continue to enlighten our nation’s kids every day.”

Adams, 24, did not expect that.

He then played the hit song “Times Like These” from the 2002 album “One by One.” Adams was in elementary school when it came out.

“When I heard Dave Grohl say my name I was ready to pass out,” Adams said Thursday. “I was like, ‘No way!’ That part was actually very unexpected, to get a shout out from him. I was running around the house super excited. I watched the clip like 10 times. I was like, ‘Did he just say my name?!’”

Adams continues to post on TikTok and has almost 391,000 followers. That original video is still her most popular one, though others have also been viewed millions of times. Her handle is @kenziiewenz.

Adams grew up in Snohomish County and graduated from Snohomish High School in 2014. She earned a degree in early childhood education from Central Washington University in 2018. She started at Glenwood later that year.

In early January, over winter break, she received an email asking if she would be part of the special. At first she didn’t see the message.

“My principal had to text me and was like, ‘Please check your email I think an important person messaged us about you being part of the inauguration,’” Adams said. “It didn’t even occur to me when she said inauguration, I was like ‘Huh, I wonder what that could be?’ Then I click on my email right away and I’m like, ‘Oh my goodness, the presidential one?’”

Her segment was recorded at Kerry Park in Seattle, with the city skyline glowing against the night sky behind her.

The Wednesday night program aired on six major networks and ran for about 90 minutes. She shared the bill with Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi and John Legend.

It was hosted by Tom Hanks, who introduced Adams as “a viral sensation.”

Even now that Adams has been on national television, she does not think her students know the kind of recognition she’s received. Some kids’ parents have reached out to share their support.

Her focus is still on teaching.

“I’m feeling super blessed to be in this position and super lucky to have this job, and to have this job recognized in this type of light,” she said Thursday. “I’m really proud to represent teachers across the country and I’m happy we’re getting recognized for the hard work we’re putting in not only this year, but all the time.”

Stephanie Davey: 425-339-3192; sdavey@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @stephrdavey.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mill Creek Police at the scene of a fatal car accident on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (Mill Creek Police)
Police investigating Mill Creek collision where man died

A stretch of 35th Ave SE was expected to be closed for a few hours Friday night.

The aftermath of a fire that damaged a unit at the Villas at Lakewood apartment complex in Marysville on Saturday. (Marysville Fire District)
2 families displaced by Marysville apartment fire

Nobody was injured when the fire broke out Saturday morning on 27th Avenue NE.

Gold Bar man airlifted after trying to start fire with gas

The man suffered severe burns after he used gasoline to start a fire in his yard.

Get ready for La Niña and a soggy winter in Snohomish County

After a hot, dry summer, Washington feels like Washington again. Damp. Gray. Normal.

Voting thing
Decision time: Ballots on their way to a half-million voters

Races for mayor, city councils and school boards are focal point of the Nov. 2 election in Snohomish County.

Executive Officer Joseph Gunta reaches out to hug his daughter Charlotte, 2, after arriving on the USS John S. McCain in Everett on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
After 24 years abroad, USS John S. McCain calls Everett home

The ship brings with it over 300 sailors and their families to the area from Yokosuka, Japan.

Everett firefighter who got cancer settles for $1.2M

It marks the end of a decade-long saga that started when Michael Weaver was diagnosed with melanoma in 2011.

Community Transit is preparing to shift commuter buses that go to the University of Washington in Seattle to connect with Link light rail in Northgate next year. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Union: Community Transit vaccine mandate puts jobs in ‘jeopardy’

Meanwhile, at King County Metro, a similar mandate has significantly boosted vaccination rates.

Kevin Gallagher (from the Snohomish County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet November 2, 2021 General Election)
Kevin Gallagher, a Marysville City Council candidate, dies

Kevin Gallagher, 52, died at home of natural causes. He was challenging incumbent Councilmember Tom King.

Most Read