Local Kiwanis gifts first year teachers

It was an inspiration of Parklands-Spanaway Kiwanis President Bruce Rice. One night he was thinking about how difficult it is to graduate from college, be burdened with student debt, rent payments and also try to start teaching in a classroom where often teachers have to use their own resources to acquire supplies for their students’ projects. At the next Kiwanis Executive Board meeting he pitched the idea that the Parkland-Spanaway Kiwanis could choose five of these brand new, fresh out of college, first year teachers from each of the two districts, and gift them $1000 at the beginning of that year. The money has no strings. They could use it for personal needs, gas, classroom supplies or to pay their electric bill.

Of course, new ideas and processes don’t always go smoothly. By the time the Kiwanis group approved the idea and the board had spoken with the two school districts, Bethel and Franklin Pierce, it was November. Getting an accurate group of people to apply was another problem. A new teacher at Bethel may have taught somewhere else before, that person was not a qualifying applicant. The applicants had to be fresh out of college and never taught before. Teachers with a new master’s degree did not count either, unless they had not taught after their bachelor’s degree and went straight on to a masters without working.

At the late November meeting, the Kiwanis drew names. The school districts vetted the participants as new teachers and in early December, the Kiwanis Board and District officials notified the 5 winners by presenting them with checks. We were asked not to name the actual winners, for their protection, although they may self-identify. Most assuredly, they were surprised and very thrilled to have the financial boost in their early tenure as public-school teachers. A couple fought back tears when they learned of the gift. Winners were from elementary, middle and high schools in both districts.

Parkland-Spanaway Kiwanis President, Bruce Rice says it was a success, in spite of the little bumps in the road trying to identify the true first year teachers. The group wants to do it again next year, hopefully by the end of September this time, when the teachers are truly just getting started and working toward that first paycheck.

Thank you to a service group who truly has our community at heart. Parkland-Spanaway Kiwanis, you are a gem.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Alan Perkins says:

    Thank you Marianne for your help in getting this idea up and running…
    I helped vote it in when I heard it.
    Have a Merry Christmas and a good and Happy New Year.

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