December 7, 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
District Contact: Rayanne Schmid, communications coordinator
936-569-5000, ext. 8845 (office) or 936-585-1518 (Cell)
NACOGDOCHES — Thomas J. Rusk Academy of Fine Arts students and teachers started their Friday with a big surprise — learning they were named Walmart’s “School of Year.”
The honor included a cake for teachers and staff and classroom funds — $50 gift cards — and gift bags for 20 randomly drawn staff members.
For two weeks, TJR principal Malinda Lindsey held the arduous job of keeping the pending award a secret. She was contacted in advance by Walmart and pre-drew the names of the 20 lucky teachers.
Walmart representatives Donna Emery and Melissa Judd then made the presentations Friday during the schoolwide gathering called Jumpstart.
“It was so much fun seeing the teachers receive their prizes,” Lindsey said,
The gathering time typically honors it’s students efforts on Fridays, but for this special day teachers were in the limelight.
“They deserve (the awards),” Lindsey said. “They work hard every day and do what it takes, inside and outside of the school day, to make this campus successful.”
Emery, training coordinator for Walmart, explained how a committee at the local store chose TJR out of all Nacogdoches County schools for this year’s award.
”We look at the schools’ accomplishments, in terms of what the teachers do for the school and community, and then we vote,” she said.
The annual program called Teacher Rewards originates from the store’s corporate office. Emery said. In August, the Bentonville, Arkansas, company announced it would give $4.5 million in 2012-13 to help 90,000 teachers in the U.S. purchase “much-needed classroom supplies.”
“Through the Teacher Rewards program, more than 4,600 U.S. Walmart stores, Distribution Centers and Sam’s Club locations are eligible to select one local kindergarten through eighth grade public school and provide $50 reward cards to 20 teachers,” according to Walmart’s corporate Website. “Winning teachers can use the funds to purchase essential items for their classrooms such as paper, folders, binders, clipboards, pens, pencils, crayons and markers.”
Emery added that she and Judd enjoyed being a part of the assembly and thought it served as a “good way to start the school day.”
The TJR principal expressed her appreciation for Emery and Judd making the presentations and for their presence during the morning routine.
Walmart’s education-focused Teacher Rewards program, “shows that all the stakeholders are involved in the education of our children,” Lindsey said. “…It was a great start to a Friday.”