Teachers in Texas are digging into their own pockets to buy school supplies, spending an average of $449 over the school year to subsidize local budgets, according to new inflation-adjusted data from the Economic Policy Institute. And an overwhelming amount of teachers will not be reimbursed for these costs.
So, we wanted to help.
We celebrated three very deserving teachers over Teacher Appreciation Week – teachers from Irving, McKinney, and Fort Worth were celebrated with their very own special Random Act of Helpfulness, courtesy of us, your Helpful North Texas Honda Dealers.
First up, we stopped by Caldwell Elementary School in McKinney to surprise 1st Grade Teacher, Mrs. Laura Otto. In addition to all the amazing things Mrs. Otto does for her students inside of her classroom, it was what she does outside of her class that really exemplified her helpful nature. Most of the school’s population is below poverty level, and many students don’t have basic resources and aren’t having their necessities met in their everyday life. That’s where Mrs. Otto steps in: she provides meals to students, delivers gifts during the holidays, provides shoes to kids who have outgrown their own or have been damaged over time, she donates sweaters, pants, shirts, and winter coats when its needed most – all of which she pays for out of pocket. So, in order to highlight the great things Mrs. Otto does, we surprised her in her classroom – not only with basic school supplies like crayons, pens, folders, backpack/seat covers for students’ chairs – but we brought her a literal, closet full of jackets, pants, shirts, shoes, and snacks for her entire class. “You don’t know what this means to me and my students, and all of this … is just, wonderful,” she shared as she hugged her colleagues, and received lots of love from her 1st grade class.
Next up: a game of disc golf resulting in the biggest surprise for 7th Grade Teacher, Mr. William Long, of De Zavala Middle School in Irving. Mr. Long is a great teacher who really takes the time to get to know his students, spends time with them inside and outside of the classroom, and provides an athletic club for students who don’t necessarily find themselves fitting in with traditional sports -like football, soccer, basketball, or baseball. He calls it, “a club for those who feel like they are outsiders. It’s a club where they feel safe, and have been able to open up to their classmates and make friends,”. Mr. Long thought he was doing a documentary for the school district highlighting his Disc Golf Club, which he created, funded, and runs for the students. Instead, he walked into a classroom full of school supplies, books, and disc golf equipment to keep his students active and interested in learning. After truly being caught off guard, and wiping tears from his eyes, all he could say was, “Thank you. I wasn’t expecting this. This is the best day ever.”
And lastly – we decided to take our helpfulness to the dance floor and stopped by I.M. Terrell Academy for STEM and VPA in Fort Worth to surprise dance teacher, Mrs. Christen Reyes. She has been with Terrell Dance since 2018, and this year, marks the first graduating class for the dance program at the school. Mrs. Reyes has far exceeded the levels of the average high school dance program. She has elevated her class by bringing in high-level dance choreographers, purchasing special costumes, and most importantly, has been known to be a “2nd mom” to her students. Mrs. Reyes’ graduating class has collectively received over $500,000 in grants and scholarships to further pursue their future careers in dance. So, what do we do for a teacher, who has done so much? We help out even more. During the dance program’s College Signing Day event, we crashed the ceremony with racks full of clothes and costumes, and a special surprise: $5,000 toward costumes and choreography to help Mrs. Reyes’ future students. “Thank you. The fact that your company saw us – saw what we were doing, saw that we’re important, and wanted to help – I can’t thank you enough.”
Want to know what’s next? More Random Acts of Helpfulness, of course! Honda drivers, Veterans and Active Military personnel will be getting some help at the pumps later this month. To find out how, when, and where, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at NTXHondaDealers.