Twenty-two years ago, when the magazine was just a glimmer in our eyes, I imagined one day that I would follow my dream and become a teacher.
Teaching is the most respected career and one that has endless effects on a child’s life. We can all remember our favorite teacher, one who made a significant impression on our lives. Mine was Frank P Slusarczyk, aka Mr Slu, my sixth grade teacher at St Ignatius Elementary in Cleveland, Ohio. He used to take us outside for class and sometimes he’d play his guitar. He respected us and we respected him.
Recently, I was invited to a Business and Community Partner breakfast at Phoenix Elementary School District #1. Kim Hertzog, director of general studies, followed Superintendant Myriam Roa with a math display.
I love math, always have. I am also a huge proponent for the push to encourage math and science studies, especially for young ladies. Hertzog, who is one of those teachers whose influence will remain with her students, presented a second grade math problem to the business partners in the room and asked us to solve it two ways. She encouraged each of us to work with a partner and think outside the box. Then she shared the many different ways her students solved the problem, sometimes coming up with the correct answer and sometimes not. She focused on the different ways there are to solve a problem. I was impressed.
But the purpose of this breakfast wasn’t simply to test the minds of local business
professionals. It was put together to acknowledge and continue open communication with the business community, and express appreciation for those who had stepped up to assist students in the Phoenix Elementary School district by providing school supplies.
Several community partners had initiated programs. One of the groups in attendance, SCF Arizona, completed its eighth year of “Pack to School.” SCF adopts an elementary school and provides every student with a backpack filled with school supplies.
Students check out the new school supplies they received from SCF Arizona.
The company has donated nearly 10,000 backpacks to Phoenix Elementary students and others across the state since 2004. This year, the school was Garfield Elementary, which has about 450 students, 95 of whom are on the free/reduced lunch program. SCF buys the backpacks and their employees donate all the supplies — including pencils, paper, erasers, scissors, glue, markers/crayons, ruler and sharpener — and SCF designs a bookmark with the school logo for each one.
SCF executives donate so that they can purchase memberships in Treasures 4 Teachers for each teacher. T4T is a nonprofit in Tempe that enables teachers to purchase at a deep discount, or get free, all kinds of items for the classroom.
SCF employees delivered the backpacks to the classrooms on the first day of school, and got to see the kids’ faces when they opened them to see their new supplies. They also donated 160 backpacks to Labors Community Services Agency’s transitional housing program, and to programs in Lake Havasu City and Tucson, through employees in those offices.
I will be back ~ Thanks for the invite, Sara.
— MaryAnn Ortiz-Lieb