PCE teacher wins OfficeMax prizes

Messenger photo by Dianne Schultz
Shawn Peterson, store manager of Office Max in Marysville, presents flowers and a certificate to first-grade teacher Shelly Bope at Plain City Elementary. Bope was one of 1,300 teachers honored nationwide  during OfficeMax’s “A Day Made Better’’ promotion.

As a teacher, it’s one joy to know your students love you for what you do, but a whole other joy when you realize your peers believe in you, too.

Plain City Elementary teacher-leader Kathleen Strayer nominated first-grade teacher Shelly Bope for OfficeMax’s nationwide search for teachers who make “A Day Better.” Bope was one of 1,300 teachers selected for the recognition.

In her nomination letter, Strayer said of Bope: “Shelly’s dedication and gift for education is something that is an honor to witness. Any person lucky enough to watch this incredible woman interact with her students, disperse knowledge effectively, and see first hand the amount  of love and respect that has been created in the classroom environment would not only feel lucky but also feel truly blessed because they are in the presence of greatness.’’

Bope’s dedication actually proved to be a hindrance when it came to planning a surprise award presenta-tion. OfficeMax arranged for all 1,300 “A Day Better” winners across the country to be surprised in their classrooms at 10 a.m. on Oct. 1.

Bope was absent that day because she took a personal day to help her daughter with a cosmetology project.

“We actually had to call Shelly and tell her she had to be at the school by noon without letting her know what was going on,’’ Strayer said.

Bope walked into her classroom seconds before Marysville OfficeMax representatives Shawn Peterson, Jon Schlegman and Amanda Lester came in with a new leather teacher’s chair and a large box filled with  $1,000 worth of teaching supplies. The bounty included an Olympus camera, markers, plastic file drawers and more. The prizes were all part of OfficeMax’s $1.5 million program to offset part of the money teachers spend out of their own pockets for their classrooms.

“Shelly is so deserving of this award,’’ said Plain City Principal Kelly Hicks who taught first grade in the same room as Bope does now. “She’s done so much for this school and is always there to incorporate others into learning here.”

For example, Bope was responsible for encouraging a group of high school students to paint the students’ bathrooms with murals. Boys’ bathrooms in the aging elementary building now sport a football motif, while rainbows are the theme in the girls’ bathrooms.

During the award presentation, Bope’s students expressed why they appreciate their teacher.

“She’s special,” said Stasha Dutt with a grin.

Cameron Lafayette said Bope is “really nice.”

Matthew Beard said she’s not just nice, “she’s really, really nice.’’

A graduate of Jonathan Alder High School, Bope has spent most of her teaching career in the Jonathan Alder district, specializing in first-grade education. She has been employed at Plain City Elementary for 19 years.

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