An unexpected gift was bestowed upon 20 Silverthorne Elementary teachers Monday afternoon: $50 gift cards to Walmart to help offset classroom expenses.
"They just emphasized that they appreciated us and that they understood how much teachers spend out of their pockets every year to buy supplies for their classroom," Silverthorne principal Dianna Hulbert said. "Their intent was just to give back to the community, which I think is awesome."
The gifts are part of Walmart's Teacher Rewards program, now in its fourth year. This year, the initiative will donate up to $4.5 million to provide 90,000 teachers across the United States with reward cards.
Winning teachers can use the funds to purchase essential items like paper, folders, binder, clipboards, pens, pencils, crayons and markers.
Silverthorne was chosen out of all the schools in Summit School District through a vote by the Frisco Walmart's associates. Store staff brought over fruit trays and cookies and balloons to the school Monday, and teacher names were drawn for the gift cards. Hulbert, who said the initial call from Walmart was unexpected, called it "a wonderful celebration."
"We are proud to honor our community's teachers, who give time and often their own money to ensure our students have everything they need to be successful throughout the school year," said Jason Spatz, Frisco Walmart store manager. "At Walmart, we are dedicated to supporting our nation's teachers by providing them with the support and resources needed to continue educating the future leaders of our country."
It's not unusual for teachers to pay for classroom essentials themselves.
"I don't think there's a teacher anywhere - not just in my school or in Summit County - that doesn't take money out of his or her own pocket to buy supplies for the classroom," Hulbert said. "It's definitely common practice."