U46 teachers awarded school supplies in A Day Made Better
By Emily McFarlan Miller firstname.lastname@example.org @emmillerwrites October 1, 2013 7:04PM
McKinley Elementary School teacher Yaneth Diaz shares emotion after being awarded more than $1,000 in classroom supplies from Office Max Tuesday in Elgin through A Day Made Better. | Emily McFarlan Miller~Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 3, 2013 6:21AM
ELGIN — The first-graders in Yaneth Diaz’s dual language classroom at McKinley Elementary School giggled as they clapped and turned. They sang along with their teacher, “It’s going to be a wonderful day.”
Then, as the song ended with the students sitting on the colorful rug at the front of the classroom, that wonderful day became a day made even better as OfficeMax associates wheeled in a new desk chair and an enormous orange box of classroom supplies to surprise the teacher.
The first-graders squealed with delight as Diaz pulled supplies from the box: stickers, scissors, tape, a digital camera, a Kindle Fire. And even as OfficeMax associates handed her flowers and balloons and a framed certificate, she insisted to her students, “These are for you.”
“Everything is for you.”
Diaz was one of 1,000 teachers nationwide surprised Tuesday with nearly $1.7 million total in classroom supplies from OfficeMax, part of the company’s A Day Made Better program.
This is the seventh year of the national initiative, a partnership between OfficeMax and AdoptAClassroom.org that aims to relieve and support teachers who spend their own money on much-needed classroom supplies, according to the company. That’s based on the fact the average American teacher spends $1,000 out of pocket on essential school supplies every school year, according to the company.
“We all have family and friends who are teachers and know what they put into the classroom,” said Blake Kneedler, one of the associates who was part of the surprise at McKinley.
Every year, the company contributes $1,000 in school supplies for each teacher awarded through the program, according to OfficeMax. This summer, OfficeMax customers and business clients also contributed nearly $700,000 in additional supplies through an in-store supply drive held at stores across the country, it said.
Diaz is the third winner at McKinley, according to Principal Juan Lira.
Anytime the school sees an opportunity like A Day Made Better, it jumps at it, Lira said. That’s because there aren’t a lot of resources to go around, and there are limits to what it can provide its teachers for their classrooms, he said.
The principal had nominated the first-grade dual language teacher, a longtime teacher at McKinley who always “goes above and beyond,” he said. She tutors students after school and also teaches students folk dance, he said.
The teacher’s hands fluttered to her heart as she thanked him and OfficeMax associates Tuesday morning.
“What a surprise. What a wonderful surprise. This is my life, you know,” Diaz said.
Other winning teachers in Elgin School District U46 include Dotti Rouse of Highland Elementary School in Elgin, Anna Makris of Bartlett Elementary School in Bartlett and Brynn Springer of Spring Trail Elementary in Carol Stream.
More information about the A Day Made Better program is online at ADayMadeBetter.com.