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Greencastle middle school teacher given $1,000 in classroom supplies

October 02, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Ginny Gill has always made certain her students had everything they needed. Even if it meant opening her own wallet, Gill supplied her sixth-grade math and science classroom at Greencastle-Antrim Middle School with the tools to learn.

So when representatives of OfficeMax in Hagerstown came to her classroom door Wednesday morning to surprise her with more than $1,000 in classroom supplies as part of their A Day Made Better program, Gill had very little to say.

"I am so overwhelmed," she said. "I have never won anything in my life."

Principal Mark Herman nominated Gill for the supplies.

According to a press release from OfficeMax, the business store will make better the days of about 1,300 teachers nationwide with big orange boxes stuffed full of supplies, including markers, pencils, scissors, paper, digital cameras, a labeler and hand sanitizer.

Herman said no one exemplified the qualities of a teacher who soars above and beyond the call of duty better than Gill, a 36-year teaching veteran.

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"If she can think of a creative way to reach her kids or a new way for her kids to succeed in school, she will make it happen," he said. "She has the same energy and enthusiasm as a starry-eyed, first-year teacher with their whole career before them."

Local OfficeMax representative David Elliott said it is typical to provide the winning teacher with flowers. Instead of handing Gill a bouquet of fragrant stems, Elliott and store manager Brian Campbell gave her a Home Depot gift card.

"We thought that rather than give her flowers, we would let her maintain the flowers she already started," Elliott said.

Four years ago, Gill approached Herman and said she wanted to turn the courtyard of the school into a living classroom where students could study plants, bugs, composting and more.

Determined to bring her idea to life, she planted dozens of flowers harvested from her own yard and bought with her paycheck. Gill also recruited her husband and turned the awkward sloping courtyard into a neat rise of organized planting beds.

The gift card will allow her to continue adding to the courtyard, Elliott said.

Gill might have been speechless as she sat in her new office chair next to enough supplies for the next few years, but her students had much to say.

"Look! Tissues!"

"There's professional scissors!"

"And hand wipes!"

"Mrs. Gill! There is a paper cutter, too," the children said as they rifled through the giant box of goodies.

Herman said the day was truly better for not only Gill, but for her students and their principal.

"It makes my whole day better because, through this award, I got to not only honor one of my teachers, but I got to watch some absolutely excited kids find the spark to learn again," Herman said.

In addition to the supplies for Gill, OfficeMax donated clips, briefcases and coupons for every teacher in the school.

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