Two Anoka-Hennepin teachers at two Coon Rapids elementary schools were honored by OfficeMax Oct. 2 during its “A Day Made Better” program.
Terri McCarthy, a first- grade teacher at Hamilton Elementary School, and Julie Waldock, a fifth-grade teacher at Mississippi Elementary School, were recognized by their respective principals, Diane Merritt at Hamilton and Mark Hanson at Mississippi.
From OfficeMax staff, both McCarthy and Waldock received a box of $1,000 worth of school supplies, a leather chair and flowers.
According to Merritt, McCarthy has been a teacher for 37 years, including 35 years at Hamilton, where she has also taught kindergarten, second- and third-grades and reading as well as her present first-grade assignment.
“Terri has dedicated 35 years to the students at Hamilton,” Merritt said.
McCarthy had no idea of what was going to happen when she and her fellow first-grade teachers were asked to bring their students to the lunchroom the morning of Oct. 2.
According to Merritt, other staff in the school had all been told of the award that McCarthy was about to receive.
McCarthy was told that first-graders were needed in the lunchroom to talk about a lunchroom issue, Merritt said.
In the lunchroom were two representatives from the Coon Rapids OfficeMax store, Chris Page, assistant store manager, and Shana Huffman, technical adviser.
According to Page, all OfficeMax stores throughout the country, including the 25 stores in the district in which the Coon Rapids store is located, went to different schools Oct. 2 to honor a teacher and present $1,000 worth of school supplies.
The program recognizes teachers nominated by their principal for their extraordinary efforts in the classroom, Page said.
The “A Day Made Better” advocacy program also helps erase teacher-funded classrooms by providing school supplies that teachers often have to pay for out of their own pockets, he said.
This was the sixth year of the program during which over $18 million has been donated to 29,000 different schools, Page said.
“This is big stuff, it’s awesome,” Merritt told assembled students in the lunchroom.
McCarthy has taught and helped lot of students in her 35 years at Hamilton, she said.
“Amazed” and “overwhelmed” were the words that McCarthy used to describe the surprise and the school supplies from OfficeMax.
She enjoys her present assignment teaching first graders, McCarthy said.
“They are very funny and have an interesting insight into things,” she said.
And like any grade she has taught, she enjoys seeing how far her students have come in the ninth months that they are in school during the school year, McCarthy said.
Working with kids and their families is “very humbling,” she said.
In her 37 years of teaching, she has seen education evolve, according to McCarthy.
There are now more programs and opportunities for students and schools have moved away from a “one size fits all” approach, McCarthy said.
McCarthy has no plans to retire, she said. “I still really enjoy teaching,” McCarthy said.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]