By JOE HUNT
Special to the News-Times
Kindergarten teacher Jacqueline Thomas, of Crescent Harbor Elementary, was surprised Tuesday by an entourage from the local OfficeMax store, all of them bearing gifts for her and her students.
Thomas was presented with more than $1,000 worth of classroom supplies, including a leather office chair, as this year’s recipient of OfficeMax’s “A Day Made Better” award. The school received another 20 boxes of supplies, valued at about $1,000, to be shared with the other classrooms. Each year OfficeMax picks out a teacher to receive a boost of school supplies in what the company says is an effort to “erase teacher-funded schools.”
“What an incredible surprise for our classroom,” Thomas said, addressing her excited kindergarteners. “These are things we can use to help us learn.”
Thomas was nominated for the honor by Principal Kate Schreck, who wrote: “She gives her all to her classroom in an effort to prepare them both as learners and as members of our community.”
“Miss Thomas uses every possible moment during the day to create opportunities for her students,” Schreck said. “During reading time, they learn to interact with each other in addition to their reading skills; during snack time they learn manners while they enjoy their treat. There is never a moment of ‘down time’ in her classroom, and the effort she makes to keep kids engaged in learning is evident in the relationships she builds with her students and also in their academic performance.”
Each October, OfficeMax stores surprise and honor more than 1,000 teachers at Title 1 schools around the country with a total of $1 million worth of classroom supplies — $1,000 per classroom. According to OfficeMax, surveys have shown that teachers spend on average $623 of their own money on school supplies every year.
OfficeMax holds “A Day Made Better” nationally to help attract public attention to the problem of teacher out-of-pocket spending and motivate the public to help teachers by adopting them through Adopt-A-Classroom.