BY JOHN J. HOPKINS
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal
Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Leanne McNall and her first grade students at Charles Upson Elementary received some special visitors Tuesday morning — visitors bearing gifts.
McNall was selected as a winner of Office Max’s “A Day Made Better” program, and received $1,400 worth of school supplies — pencils, crayons, glue sticks, erasers, staplers and more — to be used in her classroom.
Bob Michalski, manager of the Lockport store on Transit Road, brought in the supplies, assisted by two store employees who happened to be former Charles Upson students, Devan Miller and Katie Murawski.
A “shocked” McNall spent about 10 minutes looking through two large boxes, with her students gathered around to watch. There were “oohs” and “ahhs” as McNall produced items from the boxes. McNall also received a new chair.
“I spend so much money every year on supplies,” McNall said. “This is something that’s going to help me for years to come. Everyone can benefit from this,” she added, indicating she’ll be sharing her gift with her colleagues.
Michalski said every Office Max store in the country participates in the program. On Tuesday, representatives went into 1,000 classrooms and donated at least $1,000 in school supplies at each stop.
“Teachers are expected to meet extraordinary expectations in the classroom, yet they aren’t armed with the essential resources to succeed,” Michalski said, adding that every year teachers spend an average of $1,000 of their own money on classroom supplies. According to the website adaymadebetter.com, that amounts to $4 billion annually.
McNall was nominated by Charles Upson Principal Roberta Donovan, who said she wasn’t sure if she was going to suggest a teacher for the “A Day Made Better” program, which selects one teacher from all nominations per store.
“I normally don’t try to set one teacher above the others, because they’re all excellent,” Donovan said. “But with all of the budget cut-backs, I didn’t ask for anything extra from the district.”
Donovan said McNall is very active with the school’s PTA, leading its program committee, setting up assemblies and serving on the picnic committee. She also serves on the PTA board.
“She goes above and beyond what she does in the classroom,” Donovan added.
The $1,000 worth of Office max-donated supplies were loaded into a large box. A second box contained an additional $400 of supplies, donated by store employees and customers at the Lockport store.
“They are in-store donations that we solicited,” Michalski explained. “It was up to the customers to contribute. They purchased what they pleased (to donate) and put it in the box.”
Many of the customer contributions were items such as pencils and pens, but Donovan and Michalski said those contributions add up quickly.
This is the sixth year that Office Max has made contributions to classrooms. The adaymadebetter.com web site offers suggestions for the public on how to donate to their favorite schools.