Lilburn Middle School Principal Dr. Gene Taylor paid a surprise visit to Andrew Schoen's classroom Tuesday.
"We're going to have to interrupt your instruction," Taylor told Schoen, "but I think you and your students are going to forgive me for this."
Seconds later, Robby Coleman, the manager of the Loganville Office Max, was presenting the eighth grade Georgia history teacher with $1,000 in school supplies, including a chair, printer, markers and more.
"This is unbelievable," Schoen said. "This is a great honor. It's very humbling."
Schoen said he would have had to buy most of the donated supplies himself without the award.
That's exactly the problem Office Max says it wants to address with the donation program. Called A Day Made Better - Working to Erase Teacher Funded Classrooms, the program calls attention to the supply problem teachers face. Educators spend on average $1,000 of their own money to buy supplies each year, Coleman said.
Office Max program has donated $1,000 to 1,000 teachers every year for the past five years, Coleman said.
Schoen was chosen, Taylor said, essentially by his colleagues, who had voted Schoen Teacher of the Year. That was good enough reason for Taylor to nominate Schoen for the award.
"He is phenomenal," Taylor said of the eighth-grade teacher. "He is the type of teacher you hope every one of your students can get."
Lilburn Middle School also received $1,850 in supplies donated by individuals to Office Max for the program.