CHANDLER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - A kindergarten teacher at Tarwater Elementary in Chandler is receiving school supplies from complete strangers after she was chosen by a celebrity in a challenge called "10 Featured Teachers."
Jamie Ezolt has been a teacher for 13 years and said there are never enough supplies for the classroom. She said a teacher buys almost every item you see in a classroom.
"I easily spend a thousand to two, just depends on the year and the activities," Ezolt said. "I wouldn't spend it if I didn't think it mattered or if it wouldn't make a difference."
Ezolt's class is made up of 21 students and learns far more than the ABCs and 123s--they're also practicing another language and have STEM-related lessons.
"A lot of supplies that we need are STEM-related, like little mini robots and those kinds of things and you can even teach reading through those kinds of things. But those are not like, 'here's (sic) some pencils, here's some pens. That cost $5,'" she said.
In the hopes of saving some money on supplies her students need, she reached out to actor Mark Duplass, who is one of several celebrities taking on the #10FeaturedTeachers challenge. She explained to Duplass that her classroom is full of children eager to learn with hands-on activities, but those supplies can be expensive.
"They're talking about it, they're building it, they're making it and they're learning on the trials and fails that come with it," Ezolt said. "When you're in school, I think all teachers strive to create the best learning environment they can for their kids and so there's (sic) materials and resources that could have something to do with that and you never know, maybe that one I just got in the mail has that, 'Aha! I got it' moment for one student."
So far, Ezolt has received three packages in the mail from complete strangers.
"Because we are dual-language, we have some Mandarin books on there. That would be great, that's been a thing that's hard to get," Ezolt said. "I just got yesterday a magnetic math board, which I think is awesome because my kids love to stand up and move around."
She said being picked, no matter how many items she receives, is like winning the lottery.
"Just these packages, they might not look like a lot to people, but to me and my class, this is everything. This is kindness. This is generosity. This is compassion. That's more than you could ever hope for," Ezolt said.
You can purchase an item for Ezolt's class by clicking this link.