As part of a national program, 10 Wapakoneta Elementary School teachers each received $100 gift cards to use in their classrooms.
Throughout the country, Wal-Mart plans to award $4.5 million to 45,000 teachers with teacher reward certificates as part of the annual program.
Each year, Wal-Mart stores are to honor local teachers of kindergarten through eighth-grades with the gift cards. Last year, Cridersville teachers received the cards, which are treated as grants, while this year it was Wapakoneta’s turn, Wapakoneta Wal-Mart Community Involvement Coordinator Martha Steinbrugge said.
It’s the third year for the reward certificates to be distributed to local teachers.
“We used to have $1,000 grants we gave to one teacher, then they came up with this,” Steinbrugge said. “I think it’s wonderful. I’m excited about 10 teachers benefitting instead of one and it couldn’t be for a better cause.”
Steinbrugge said according to national surveys, teachers spend as much as $500 out of their own pockets on average for classroom supplies. An additional $300 is spent purchasing food or snacks for their students.
“I hope the teachers find it helpful,” Steinbrugge said. “The feedback we’ve gotten is that they really appreciate it.”
Teachers whose names were drawn to receive the gift cards included, ED teacher Jason Wolke, second-grade teacher Kay Dorner, physical education teacher Amy Burke, third-grade teacher Tracy Trogdlon, Title 1 teacher Melanie Webb, second-grade teacher Chris Talowsky, kindergarten teacher Cheri Brandt, kindergarten teacher Abby Truesdale, first-grade teacher Nikki Sutton, and third-grade teacher Heather Schreiner.
Wal-Mart Store Manager Gerry Goulet said it’s an opportunity to thank the teachers for what they do, to let them know that they are appreciated as role models to children of the community.
He said after living in places throughout the state with his job, he was glad his three children could spend so much time growing up with the Wapakoneta City Schools.
“I wish we could be here forever,” Goulet said.
Teachers are allowed to spend their winnings however they chose, with some already planning to partner with other teachers for items and others using it solely within their own classrooms.
Wapakoneta Elementary School Principal Mark Selvaggio thanked Wal-Mart officials for their help.