Staff photo/Marlena Ballinger
Ottawa Elementary teacher, Lori Smith is surprised by OfficeMax on Tuesday with $1,000 worth of school supplies for her classroom. Presenting Smith with the supplies is Gerald Flores, the general manager of the Lima location.
OTTAWA - An Ottawa Elementary teacher was awarded $1,000 from OfficeMax "A Day Made Better" program.
Lori Smith who teaches English to the sixth, seventh and eighth graders was awarded the prize after making and impact on a former student, Cory Flores. Flores tragically passed away last year, but her death inspired her parents to give back to the school and community.Florres' father, Gerard is the general manager at the OfficeMax store in Lima. When he heard about the contest he instantly thought of Smith. He said his employees got on board with the idea and raised an additional $3,400. The store then donated $1,000 in school supplies to Florres's classroom and then an additional $3,400 worth of supplies to the school.
Two large boxes were presented to Smith containing cameras, laminators and many other supplies. Smith was also given a new desk chair which carried the platters of cookies and a bouquet of flowers to her classroom.
In order to raise money, OfficeMax held employee jean days where the employees could donate $2 to wear jeans to work. According to Flores, the employees went above and beyond by donating well over the $2. He also noted that members of the community were also very generous in donating money.
"A Day Made Better" has been awarding $1,000 to schools across the country and Puerto Rico for the last six years. This year, they donated $1,000 to 1,000 teachers on Oct. 2. Nationwide the program has awarded over 5,500 teachers over the last five years and was born with the idea that teachers spend over $1,000 of their own money each year on classroom supplies. Annually this totals over $4 billion teachers are spending of their own money to enrich the learning environment of students.
Flores is no stranger to donating to the community as last summer he participated in a 5K run in honor of his daughter. Held in Leipsic, the event spurred the idea to have a 5K run annually to raise money for Ottawa Elementary students who can't afford to pay for an annual Washington D.C. trip. He said that his daughter was deeply affected when students could not go on school trips because they could not afford to. The annual 5K event will also raise money for the Leipsic Elementary eighth grade class that takes an annual trip to Columbus.