Teachers at schools in New Jersey and Tennessee have had a surprising start to their teaching year, and possibly one of the best of their lives, after Amazon revealed a donation of school supplies worth over $10,000 each.
Last year, the Grant Elementary and Woodmore Elementary schools asked its teachers to generate a wish list with the online retailer site for a chance to win the items selected.
Grant Elementary School is considered one of New Jersey's schools in greatest need of resources, with some teachers forking out thousands of dollars from their own paychecks to provide the educational materials necessary for providing a quality education for their students.
The Inquirer reports that there were nine other schools within the financially strained district in NJ that were also in the draw to win the educational supplies. Grant Elementary School won after being drawn from a hat.
Astoundingly, Tanya Victor, a teacher at Woodmore Elementary, which is in the bottom 5 percent of schools in Tennessee, has contributed more than $4,000 of her own money over a period of four years to buy supplies for her classroom and students, The Times Free Press reports.
"It's just what teachers do. Sometimes, I've waited until after payday to teach a certain lesson because it required me buying supplies."
Amazon is providing both elementary schools with everything from pencil sharpeners, Kindles, cleaning supplies and other classroom aids, reports 6ABC news.
Teachers at Grant Elementary were summoned to the schools cafeteria in what they believed would be a routine staff meeting where they were met by a mountain of boxes and staff from Amazon, writes Greg Wright for NJ.com.
Anne Laughlin, an Amazon spokeswoman, told the teachers at Grant:
"We know that teachers spend a lot of money out of their own pockets to help make the school year successful. We're here to help shoulder some of that financial burden that teachers face — to make sure that you and all of your students have the resources needed to create, invent and to imagine to your fullest potential."
According to the National School Supply Association, teachers spend an average of $500 of their own money each year to fund classroom activities, writes Taylor Ellis at News Channel 9.
The Times Free Press reports that around $1.6 billion in funding for school supplies has shifted from parents and school districts onto teachers.
Amazon's senior manager at the company's Chattanooga fulfilment center was excited to celebrate the dedication of teachers at Woodmore Elementary and said:
"We wanted to help alleviate some of the financial burden teachers face to ensure that they and all of y'all sitting here in the room today have the resources you need to create, invent and imagine to the best of your potential."
A representative for the school on the Hamilton County Board of Education, Karitsa Mosely, expressed that the donation was a "huge encouragement" for the teachers and the community.
Students at Woodmore are equally as excited as the teachers about heading to class.
Woodmore Principal Brenda Cothran knew her school was chosen, but she had to keep the secret all summer.