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Beechwood teacher surprised with supplies

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Beechwood Elementary School teacher Amy Dill is overwhelmed as she is presented with a box of school supplies by Christopher Borghese on Oct. 1. The school won OfficeMax's A Day Made Better award, and Dill was chosen as its recipient.

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, Amy Dill of Beechwood Elementary School was working with a small number of students in her classroom during a daily intervention block.

All was quiet. Everything was normal, like any other Tuesday morning in Dill's classroom.

Not for long, though.

Gasps of delight and hoots and hollers could be heard up and down the hallways as Dill was taken aback by a waist-high box filled with electronics, school supplies and other goodies.

"I had no idea whatsoever," said Dill, a winner in OfficeMax's A Day Made Better program. "I haven't even found room for everything yet. ... It was awesome."

Every October for the past seven years, OfficeMax associates surprise 1,000 teachers in their classrooms with a box full of $1,000 in school supplies. The supplies are worth a total of $1 million and put a smile on teachers' faces across the country every time they enter the classroom.

The national initiative is designed to support teachers who spend their own money on much-needed classroom supplies, according to company officials. OfficeMax consumers and business clients contributed nearly $700,000 in additional school supplies through this summer's in-store supply drive held at stores across the country to make the program a success.

Dill, who took over a fourth-grade classroom last year after spending 12 years in special education, said she knows all too well what it means to get a room up and running. She said she has bought many supplies with her own money, especially now that she has her own room. With three children of her own -- and another on the way -- every cent counts.

Inside Dill's box was a new Kindle Fire, a digital camera, pencils, paper, notebooks, markers and other classroom supplies and teaching aids. A new leather chair also was rolled into the room.

Dill said everything would be put to good use, especially the Kindle, on which she already has downloaded programs in an effort to help struggling readers. She also will use it to aid in her classroom management program.

Cheryl Spain, Beechwood's principal, had nothing but high praise for Dill.

"She was one of the intervention specialists at Beechwood for a number of years, and then she stepped up last year when I had a teacher out in fourth grade for an extended period of time and helped team teach," Spain said. "After that experience, she decided that she wanted to take on a classroom this year, and she has joined our fourth-grade team full time.

"Amy is a team player who is dedicated to kids and always makes decisions in their best interests," Spain said. "She is professional and driven to learn more and be the best she can be for her team and for Beechwood."

Dill said her new position has been very rewarding, and the added recognition has been particularly uplifting.

She's not the only one who's excited, though.

"Throughout the rest of the week, the kids kept looking in the box," Dill said. "It was like they were looking into a treasure chest."