Unsuspecting McNabb Elementary students, faculty and staff filed into their school gymnasium Monday afternoon for what they thought would be an ordinary assembly.
Little did they know, the crowded room would soon be erupting with cheers of excitement at the sight of a $10,000 check made out to their school.
In celebration of the Sept. 28 opening of Burlington Stores in Kentucky Oaks Mall and through the efforts of the national nonprofit, AdoptAClassroom.org, Burlington was able to make the surprise sizable donation to one area district elementary school.
Paducah Tilghman's Band of Blue and cheerleaders chanted, and balloons fell from the ceiling in the McNabb gymnasium while Burlington local store manager Richard Mathis presented the check to the school on Monday afternoon.
AdoptAClassroom.org, headquarted in Minneapolis, has a mission to help fund teachers with financial resources to purchase the supplies needed for their classroom and students, without spending their own money.
Celebrating its 20th year, the nonprofit provides an online marketplace of nearly 30 school specialty and office supply vendors and gives teachers the materials and tools needed to better engage with their students.
During the 2017-18 school year, Burlington Stores and AdoptAClassroom.org adopted more than 70 schools across the nation.
Terri White, fourth-grade teacher at McNabb Elementary, said she entered the assembly Monday afternoon expecting to talk about test scores.
"I never expected this in a million years," she said. "This is $10,000 for our school. It's going to be really good and we're going to use it wisely."
Since the $10,000 donation will be distributed evenly throughout the school, each teacher at McNabb Elementary will receive $550 to put toward their classroom and students.
Having been teaching for 16 years, White said it's not uncommon for teachers like herself to spend their own money on classroom supplies, and while it's worth it, she said she is thankful for the extra funding for her classroom.
"I've never had that much money to shop for my classroom, so it will be great," White said.
Following each Adopt a Classroom donation, teachers will create a virtual savings account through its website, where they will be able to use the funds to purchase supplies for their classroom. The nonprofit is partnered with a wide range of vendors including Office Depot, Best Buy, Scholastic, etc.
Amy McGee, kindergarten teacher at McNabb, said she was floored by the surprise announcement and is excited about the extra money for her classroom.
"The first thing I can think of is a new pencil sharpener," she said. "There are so many things I will be able to get for the classroom and for the learning labs we do. I think the kids are just as excited as the teachers and the staff."