Forget the shiny apple from a student.
Two area teachers received something a little more exciting this week.
Karen Holmberg, a Staples Elementary School fifth-grade teacher, and Pat Nelson, a Harrison Elementary School fourth-grade teacher in Brainerd, were both surprised when they received awards in separate contests this week sponsored by two corporations with Baxter stores.
Holmberg was named Teacher of the Year by the Baxter Wal-Mart. She received a $1,000 grant for Staples Elementary, plus a $100 gift card to buy classroom supplies and a personalized certificate. She was presented the award Monday in a surprise school assembly. She is one of 4,000 teachers being honored nationally by Wal-Mart's Teacher of the Year program.
Pat Nelson, who has taught fourth grade at Harrison Elementary School for the past 39 years, sat in her new office chair next to the $1,200 in office and school supplies she was awarded Wednesday through the second annual "A Day Made Better" celebration sponsored by Adopt-A-Classroom and OfficeMax. Nelson was one of 1,000 teachers nationwide who received the honor. Brainerd Dispatch/Jodie Tweed» Purchase reprints of this photo.
"Our area has fantastic teachers," Baxter Wal-Mart co-manager Brian Gaeu said in a news release. "We are pleased to honor Karen Holmberg as the Teacher of the Year and to share this great news with our community."
Nelson has taught fourth grade in the same Harrison Elementary School classroom for the past 39 years.
On Wednesday, the Brainerd teacher was surprised in her classroom by her principal, Jeff DeVaney, and four staff members from OfficeMax in Baxter as she was selected as one of 1,000 teachers nationwide to receive a $1,200 gift of school supplies and electronics for her classroom in the second annual "A Day Made Better" celebration sponsored by Adopt-A-Classroom and OfficeMax. DeVaney nominated Nelson for the award.
The award is intended to shed light on the fact that teachers spend an average of $1,200 per teacher each year for classroom supplies due to cuts in education funding.
OfficeMax employees Stacy Chan, Branden LaPin, Colleen Reff and Loran Schroeder presented Nelson with a new office chair, a digital camera and many other supplies.
Nelson was stunned.
"I'm speechless," said Nelson. "I'm not used to this. I'm just absolutely overwhelmed. This is supposed to happen to other people, not me."
"What a way to compliment a veteran teacher near the end of her career," DeVaney said of Nelson's award.
Several of Nelson's students were excited to discover that Nelson's gifts included a new electronic pencil sharpener since their classroom sharpener "eats pencils."
JODIE TWEED may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5858.
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