Former Oak Mountain teacher reacts to being mentioned at the Oscars

Published 9:46 am Tuesday, March 21, 2023

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By LIZZIE BOWEN | Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – Actress Florence Pugh beams as she hands an Oscar to Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert for “Everything Everywhere Al at Once” at the 95th annual Academy Awards ceremony.

As Scheinert walks to the stage to accept the award for Writing (Original Screenplay), he jokes about waiting for this moment to speak on every former teacher who had ever given him detention.

“I had a fantasy as a kid of winning an award and going up and telling off all of the teachers that gave my brother and I detention, so here it goes… I’m just kidding,” Scheinert said. “These are teachers that changed my life, most of them public school teachers.”

The very first mentioned on that long list of thank you’s is Kay Dummier, who taught him in the fourth grade at Oak Mountain Elementary School. When Dummier is asked about Scheinert, she refers to him as “my blessed Daniel” with a laugh.

Dummier was watching the Oscar award ceremony live while working on a puzzle when she heard her name mentioned on the television.

“I knew he was up for things,” Dummier said. “I didn’t know that he would get seven of them. I was in the other room working on a puzzle. I heard them say for the writing that it went to “Everything Everywhere All at Once” and I thought, ‘Oh, great that’s Daniel!’ Then, he started talking about the public-school teachers, and I just about flipped.”

Dummier said she was excited to see public school teachers exalted on such a large platform and to see such a positive light shed on the whole community as Scheinert gave his speech.

“I just was not expecting it,” Dummier said. “I was so tickled that he talked about his good public school teachers on national television. Usually, when you hear about public school teachers on national television it isn’t good. I thought, ‘Oh, I could just give him a big hug, oh my goodness.’ I was not expecting me to be there.”

Dummier spoke on what Scheinert was like as a child, what it was like to teach him and what she remembers about him as an elementary school student.

“I remember a cute little fourth grade boy,” she said. “With lots of good ideas, but I didn’t treat him any differently than I did all my kids. So, I don’t know what I did that made him say that. I really don’t.”

In the 27 years she has served as a teacher, Dummier spent all but six of those teaching the fourth grade.

“I like fourth grade,” Dummier said. “They’re old enough to be beginning to think, and they still listen to you. Younger than that, you tell them something, and they can’t really think. Fourth graders can, and it’s a remarkable age. I just like them. They spark things and make you think.”

Dummier still spends her days around children and harvesting her love for investing in youth. She still does Cub Scout work with her son who is now 57 years old. She has been working in the cub scouts since he was 9 years old.

“I stay with the cub scout age because that is my favorite,” Dummier said.

When it comes to previous memories of Scheinert, Dummier will always keep fond memories of him and his energetic nature.

“He was another active little boy,” Dummier said. “Fourth grade boys can’t keep still. They wiggle, they carry on and they do things. He was extremely bright. He was just a cute kid.”

Dummier said many of the kids she has taught over the years are all bright children and have gone on to do great things and also spoke to the uniqueness of the film “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

“I know I have some that are doctors,” Dummier said about previous successful students she has had. “I am so happy for him (Daniel), that he ended up with that dream, and he went to do it. I have a niece that is on Broadway, and she was so delighted that something different got chosen. If everybody was the same you would be bored.”

Dummier has not spoken to Schneinert recently, but said if she could give one message to him, it would be how proud she is of him and his overall success.

“I am tickled to death for him,” Dummier said. “I am proud for him that he wanted to do it and got out there and did it. If you think about it, that’s really something, to think like that, have that dream and go and do it.”