Supplies surprise for Elephant’s Fork teacher

Published 8:47 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Elephant’s Fork Elementary third-grade teacher Maureen Mahoney is surprised Tuesday by Harbour View OfficeMax workers Exzavier Johnson, Robert Shelton, Lita Davenport and, far right, assistant store manager Tamia Roberts, with a box of classroom supplies. School principal Andre Skinner, second from right, said the donation is much appreciated.

Elephant’s Fork Elementary teacher Maureen Mahoney’s evolving facial expressions said it all Tuesday morning.

As she eased her third-graders into a day of learning, a team from Harbour View OfficeMax sneaked down the hall with $1,000 worth of teaching supplies.

Mahoney has been an educator at the school for six years. As the box was wheeled into her classroom, the look on her face transitioned from surprise, to disbelief, to gratitude.

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“A laminator! Oh my gosh,” she said, excitedly searching through the box with her students crowding around.

“This is a huge surprise; I was not expecting this. How lucky are we? This is all of our stuff — (it’s) overwhelming!”

Elephant’s Fork assistant principal Jessica Avery nominated Mahoney for the office supply company’s A Day Made Better campaign.

Avery wrote in the nomination form: “Ms. Mahoney exhibits all the qualities of a phenomenal teacher. She is a leader in her classroom as well as our school; she is a compassionate teacher who goes above and beyond for her students and fellow staff members.

“Ms. Mahoney is often sought out by her peers for her expertise in the teaching profession. She is without a doubt an asset to Suffolk Public Schools.”

OfficeMax’s campaign, designed to cut down on teachers having to spend their own money on classroom supplies, has been running now for six years.

Tuesday’s donations of school supplies worth $1,000 to 1,000 teachers bring total donations over the life of the campaign to $1.9 million.

OfficeMax Incorporated, back-to-school shoppers and business customers all contribute to the campaign, the company says.

In-store fundraising at OfficeMax locations raised an additional $900,000, which bought extra supplies for the 1,000 schools, including Elephant’s Fork, to be distributed by administrators.

“We want to help them in the classrooms and stop spending out of teachers’ pockets,” said Tamia Roberts, assistant manager of the Harbour View store.

Elephant’s Fork principal Andre Skinner said of the donations, “I think it will eliminate barriers of supplies.

“Some people think it doesn’t matter, but the smallest things mean the most to a lot of the student population, because they get excited when they see new materials. You can never have too many pencils and composition books.”

He said of Mahoney, “She’s one of the teachers that’s most influential in creating positive vibes in our building.”

Mahoney said she was overwhelmed with gratitude. “As teachers we spend lots of our dollars, so I’m just overwhelmed,” she said.