In a heartwarming gesture of appreciation, more than 300 staff members and teachers at John I. Leonard High School in Greenacres, Palm Beach County, received a pleasant surprise ahead of Thanksgiving. Students and volunteers joined forces to present each employee with a frozen turkey, ensuring that they could check off one major item from their holiday grocery shopping list. This act of gratitude aimed to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of these individuals who play a crucial role in shaping the lives of students.
Casey Beck, a teacher at the high school who works with students with intellectual disabilities and also coaches baseball, expressed his gratitude for the unexpected gift. Beck emphasized how meaningful this recognition was, particularly during challenging times and with the approach of the holiday season. He stated, “A little recognition like that goes a long way. We’re very thankful, and it was a nice surprise right before the holidays.” Beck also highlighted the ongoing struggle faced by teachers to make ends meet, regardless of their years of experience in the profession. He remarked, “A lot of teachers, we’re struggling too.”
This initiative, organized by the non-profit organization Eat Better, Live Better, marked its fifth occurrence. Debra Tendrich, the founder of the organization, explained that their mission revolves around addressing food insecurity and child obesity in the community. Tendrich noted a growing trend of teachers seeking assistance with grocery expenses, attributing it to the rising cost of living. She further stated, “Teachers are spending more money out of their own pockets to support the kids’ hygiene and food and other needs for supplies. The least we could do is celebrate the teachers during Thanksgiving and let them go off on their holiday vacation knowing the community cares.”
The selection of John I. Leonard High School for this surprise gift of gratitude was a result of community nomination. The organization received recommendations from members of the community, recognizing the school’s commitment to its students and the broader community. This act not only provided much-needed support to the teachers but also served as a reminder of the caring and compassionate nature of the community as a whole.
As the holiday season approaches, gestures like these serve as a testament to the power of unity and support within a community. Such acts of kindness not only alleviate the burden on teachers but also promote a sense of belonging and appreciation for their tireless efforts. With the recognition received through this initiative, teachers at John I. Leonard High School can embark on their holiday vacation, knowing that they are valued and cherished by their community.