''Am I in trouble?,'' wondered 10 teachers from Girard's Intermediate and Elementary Schools the morning of Sept. 24 when their principals called them out of their classrooms to report to the office.
But instead of facing reprimands or worse, the teachers were given special awards through the Sam's Club Teacher's Rewards Program.
''We know that with the rising costs of classroom supplies it is getting more and more difficult for schools to purchase some things,'' said Angie Haynie, Sam's Club's membership manager.
Girard Community News photos / Kathleen Evanoff
Five teachers from Girard Elementary School were chosen at random by their principal to receive the Sam’s Club Teacher Rewards Program $100 gift card. Pictured front row from left are: Samantha Nappo, second grade; Lucy Setz, third grade; Polly Moliterno, third grade; Flo Alexander, second grade; and Nancy Thomas, kindergarten. Back row from left are: Debbie Gratz, principal; Angie Haynie, Sam’s Club membership manager; and Mary Ann Nicholas, Sam’s Club Marketing Representative.
''We also know that many times, teachers are spending their own money on the things they need in the classroom,'' Haynie said. ''Sam's Club is just trying to help.''
The store's teacher award program has changed this year from the way it once operated, said Mary Ann Nicholas, Sam's Club marketing manager. In the past, the program awarded one teacher from all of the area school districts. This year, however, they chose one school and 10 teachers, who each received a $100 gift card to spend on classroom supplies.
''We plan to continue the program this way,'' Nicholas said. ''Next year another school district will get the awards.''
The Intermediate and Elementary School principals each chose five teachers at random to receive the awards. Each school held a brief presentation ceremony and Sam's Club provided decorated cupcakes for the teachers and administrators.
''All of our teachers are deserving,'' said Elementary School Principal Debbie Gratz, who closed her eyes and pulled the five winners' names from the elementary school from a box that contained cards with names of all the school's teachers.
The Teacher Rewards Program is a national event that enables WalMart and Sam's Club to provide more than $4 million to 40,000 deserving teachers across the United States each year.