By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – Life in one Rogers Early Elementary School first grade class just got a little sweeter.
Teacher Kristie Donohue was voted one of the top 10 teachers of the week in Del Monte’s Teacher Monday: Cash for Classrooms program Nov. 15.
For the program, people vote on a Website for their favorite teachers each week, and the top 10 teachers on the site receive $750 to spend on classroom supplies and a $250 grocery store gift card to purchase fresh Del Monte fruit for classroom snacks.
In a statement, a Del Monte representative said the contest was created to help take the burden off teachers, many of whom pay for many of the supplies for their classrooms as funding in schools decrease.
Donohue had been alerting school personnel and parents by e-mail blast and word of mouth to vote for her classroom since October, said Sandey Gutenschwager, Melvindale-Northern Allen Park Public Schools director of finance.
“As of Nov. 3, they were in 16th place,” Gutenschwager said. “But somehow they got enough votes to move up.”
In addition to the money for the school, the classroom also will choose a Costa Rican or Guatemalan school to receive $1,000 in grant money. The countries are major growing locations for Del Monte products.
“They’re hoping our students will connect and become sister schools with Central American schools,” Gutenschwager said.
She said the students will probably reach out to the Central American class they choose in some way, but no plans have been set yet.
Gutenschwager said the grant money will benefit the children in a variety of ways.
“It might get kids to try something a little different,” she said. “Maybe they’re not eating a lot of fruit. “The district gets some money and the kids get something nutritious as a snack, so it’s a win-win.”
The district also has focused on nutrition in other ways, including receiving a state grant in July to purchase fresh fruit for classroom snacks at Allendale Elementary School. The fruit was served in classrooms beginning in September.
(Contact Andrea Poteet at [email protected])