Ottawa University surprises metro first-year teachers with school supplies

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- A local university is stepping up to help first-year metro teachers make the grade in their new classrooms.

“I wasn't expecting all the things I needed to get for the first day of school,” said Anai Alatorre, a first-year teacher at Our Lady of Unity Catholic School in KCK.

She's just as nervous as her students will be for the first day of class -- but her alma mater stepped in to help. Ottawa University presented her with school supplies for her classroom Friday.

“I really appreciate all the help they`re giving me. I wouldn`t have been able to afford that,” Alatorre said.

Budgets for schools and teachers are tight, and teachers say they often have to use their own money to ensure their classrooms are stocked for their students to learn.

“Often times, our kids don`t have the privilege of getting some of that stuff at home, so we just bring it for them,” Alatorre said.

First-year teacher Anai Alatorre gets a big surprise Aug. 3, 2018, after Ottawa University provides her with school supplies for her classroom.

“Teachers, a lot of times, just because they are teachers, pick up extra supplies for our students and take care of our students. It`s just for the love of the kids,” said Cally Dahlstrom, principal at Our Lady of Unity Catholic School.

The Kansas City campus at Ottawa University reached out to several teachers who graduated in May and asked them for wish lists.

“It is very limited, but we do what we can, and obviously with some help, we overcome it,” Alatorre said.

Every week, the school shares the wishes. Staff and faculty donate school supplies, giving the university's former students -- and maybe future ones -- the tools they need to succeed.

“We know they don`t have the largest budget, or any budget at all, so we want to set them up for success in the classroom, for themselves, but also for their students,” said Chad Taldo, Ottawa University's Overland Park campus manager.

Now, these metro teachers will have art supplies, disinfecting wipes, colored paper, binders, markers and much more for the new school year.

“They won`t be struggling with, 'Oh, we need this,' or 'Oh, we need that.' They`ll know they have it, so they`ll just worry about getting things done and learning and having fun,” Alatorre said.

Although this is Ottawa University`s first year doing this, they plan to make it a back-to-school tradition for years to come.

If you want to donate, they will be giving supplies to more teachers over the upcoming weeks. The Overland Park campus is located at Interstate 435 and Roe. You can drop of donations and school supplies there.