Nimitz teacher awarded $1,000 in supplies

It's estimated that, every year, the average elementary school teacher spends $1,000 out of his or her own pocket to purchase classroom supplies.

On Tuesday, a fourth-grade teacher at Nimitz Elementary got the money she's invested back.

Valerie Kennedy was surprised Tuesday morning with $1,000 worth of classroom supplies from Office Max as part of the company's annual A Day Made Better program.

"I was just shocked when all these people started pouring into my classroom this morning, and then they told me I had won all these supplies," said Kennedy, a writing teacher at Nimitz.

Kennedy had no idea she would be receiving the supplies, which were brought to her classroom while she was teaching.

She was nominated for the prize by Nimitz principal Wade Ivy.

"We have a lot of great teachers here, but I think (Kennedy) represents what this school is all about," said Ivy. "She works hard to build strong relationships with her students, with parents and to instill strong lessons."

Kennedy was one of 1,000 teachers nationwide awarded school supplies, which included a desk chair, digital camera and printer, along with everyday items like glue sticks and pencils. Since 2007, Office Max honored more than 3,000 teachers with these awards.

"The program was conceived because it's been estimated that every year, elementary school teachers spend $1,000 out of pocket on supplies for their classrooms," said Jennifer Rook, a spokeswoman for Office Max. "They do this so selflessly, and our company wanted to give back."

And, in fact, Kennedy said she has spent her own money over the years on classroom supplies.

"All teachers buy these things for their students -- scissors, pencils, pens -- because they use them all so fast, and sometimes you have students who can't afford them on their own, so you want to provide for your students and make sure they have everything they need to succeed," she said.

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