A Day Made Better!
(October 2, 2012) To provide economic relief for teachers and encourage national support, hundreds of OfficeMax associates -- working secretly with school principals -- honored teachers with classroom donations of much-needed school supplies on Tuesday, October 2 at 10 a.m. One thousand teachers at 1,000 schools were selected by their principals to be recognized as part of "A Day Made Better," Office Max's national cause campaign facilitated in partnership with nonprofit Adopt-A-Classroom to end teacher-funded classrooms.
An OfficeMax survey conducted in June 2009 supports data first reported in a National Education Association survey in 2005: Teachers spend on average $1,000 of their own money each year to offset school budget shortfalls and ensure their students have the necessary classroom resources for learning.
The fifth annual "A Day Made Better" nationwide event included surprise in-class ceremonies on October 2nd whereby teacher recipients received a classroom donation of more than $1,000 worth of supplies per teacher - approximately $1 million in sum.
Principals at identified schools were invited to nominate one teacher who exemplified passion, dedication, and innovation in the classroom. That teacher in the Riverhead Central School District was Gene Siller, a special education teacher at the Phillips Avenue School.
"We won!" shouted Ms. Siller's students enthusiastically, when two Riverhead Office Max employees, Ron Nelson (Store Manager) and Constatine Stavracos (Operations Supervisor), wheeled two huge boxes of supplies into Ms. Siller's classroom at the Phillips Avenue School.
The box contained items such as: a laminator, a digital camera, notebooks, paper, markers, crayons, paperclips, Post-it Super Sticky Meeting Notes, tape, a stapler, scissors, a picture frame, push pins. In addition, she received an office chair, flowers, a certificate and more worth $1,088!
"I'm very thankful for all of these great supplies, and I'm very honored to have been chosen to receive them," stated Ms. Siller, who had no idea she was to be the recipient of the Office Max campaign.
"Ms. SIller has been a Special Education teacher in the Riverhead School District for the past 28 years As a Special Education teacher, she gathers an in-depth knowledge of her students, what motivates them, and how they learn best," notes Phillips Avenue Principal Debra Rodgers. "Ms. Siller took it upon herself to purchase an iPad and uses it every day with her students. She has also excited other staff members to use more technology with their students. Ms. Siller expects her students to give their very best effort and do their very best. If you are a student in Ms. Siller's class, 'good enough is NOT good enough'. She promotes a classroom environment of access, respect, and responsibility. Ms. Siller is dedicated to her students, our school, and community. She is, by choice, an unsung hero--always willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done but quick to say... 'no one needs to know'. We are both proud and honored to have Ms. Siller as a teacher at the Phillips Avenue Elementary School and congratulate her on this well deserved recognition."
There's a wonderful P.S. to this story. In addition to the supplies that Ms. Siller received, Office Max, through the generosity of those who shop there, who participate by donating money for even more supplies, also gave the Phillips Avenue School another $2,000 worth of additional school supplies, which included four computer carts, for the entire school.
"You certainly made my day!" said Phillips Avenue Principal Debra Rodgers to Ron Nelson. "Thank you so much, Office Max!"
Photo #1: Ms. Gene Siller (Special Education Teacher) with Ron Nelson (Riverhead Office Max Store Manager) by a table with the extra supplies donated to the whole school.
Photo Caption #2: Ms. Gene Siller (seated far left) with her class received supplies from Office Max as part of their "A Day Made Better" program. Also pictured in the back row L-R: Sheila Cuccia (Aide), Debra Rodgers (Phillips Avenue Principal), Ron Nelson (Office Max Store Mgr.), Constatine Stavracos (Office Max Operations Supervisor), RCSD Superintendent of Schools Nancy Carney, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Lois Etzel, and Kim Allen (Teacher Assistant).
Separate Photo: Ms. Gene Siller, Special Education Teacher