Westside schools:
‘A Day Made Better’ for Whittier teacher

       OfficeMax calls its new promotion “A Day Made Better,” and it turned out that way for Whittier Elementary first-grade teacher Laurie Sanchez Oct. 2.
       In a deliberate surprise (secretly planned with school administrators), four workers from the office-supply chain's North Academy Boulevard store showed up at Sanchez' classroom with a new desk chair, printer, digital camera and a boxful of other school supplies valued at about $1,400 in all.
       There were also “goody bags” for the kids, containing a mix of pencils, pens and other supplies that were “personally donated by the management team,” said Maribel Lawrence, manager of the OfficeMax North Academy store.
       The result was several minutes of excitement and a lot of big grins all around. “You guys,” Sanchez enthused to her students. “Look at all this stuff for our classroom.”
       After a few more moments enjoying the unexpected bounty, she and Lawrence hugged each other. “I'm a little overwhelmed,” Sanchez said. “And I'm very grateful.”
       As the surprise benefactors left the room, they were followed with a chorus of “thank yous” from the students.
       A Day Made Better is a company-wide initiative, in partnership with the nonprofit organization Adopt-A-Classroom, that took place nationwide Oct. 2, an OfficeMax press release stated. The promotion recognizes that on average teachers spend about $1,200 out of pocket annually on their classrooms, Lawrence said. OfficeMax has tried to alleviate this situation previously, but not in such an up-front and personal way, she elaborated.
       In Colorado Springs, each of the three stores chose one school in a random drawing. After Whittier was picked, Principal Marlys Berg was asked to nominate one of her teachers. She emphasized that all her instructors are deserving, but Sanchez, a third-year teacher, seems to spend a lot on her classroom and “always gives 110 percent.”
       In other school news...
       Tom and Donna Rogers are the recipients of Coronado High's Westside Recipient Award this year.
       Owners of the Manitou Cliff Dwellings tourist attraction, the couple has contributed time, donations and coaching to Coronado's athletic programs and student government for the past 10 years. “Their latest project includes the renovation of the school's baseball field, student council room, and concession stands,” a school press release states.
       The award is given to an individual, group, or business that has continually contributed to Coronado High School and the Westside community. The award was established in 1970 by the Associated Students of Coronado High School.
       Both grew up in the area, and Donna is an alumnus of Coronado.

Westside Pioneer/press releases