Rorimer Elementary teacher Tracey Pryor, right, receives a gift box of supplies from Placentia Office Max store manager Darrell Williams, at the La Puente campus Oct. 6. (Photos by Leo Jarzomb / Staff)
Tracey Pryor was given the Royal treatment last week, complete with gifts and a new chair fit for a queen - or at least a well-deserving teacher.

The third-grade teacher at Rorimer Elementary School - whose mascot is the Royals - in La Puente was the recipient of more than $1,000 in classroom supplies and a new leather swivel chair, courtesy of OfficeMax.

"I'm shocked," said Pryor.

OfficeMax representatives rolled in to Pryor's classroom with a big red gift box of supplies, the swivel chair and flowers and balloons.

As the OfficeMax representative presented a certificate to Pryor explaining the recognition, her students clapped and cheered with smiles.

"It's like Christmas," shouted one student,

while another thought it was Pryor's birthday.

Daniel Yasuhara, 8, said he has learned a lot from Pryor and she is nice to him.

"She's kind and smart," agreed Cathy Ramos, 8.

As part of their "A Day Made Better" event, OfficeMax selected more than 1,000 teachers across the nation to receive the same surprise as Pryor, in an effort to erase teacher- funded classrooms.

Principals at elementary schools were asked to nominate a teacher for their innovative approach to teaching and dedication and passion for education.

Principal Audrey Hicks said every teacher at Rorimer is worthy of recognition but thought of Pryor when she heard about the event over the summer.

"(Pryor) has a passion for teaching and shares anything she learns with the other teachers," she said.

Pryor, who attended two schools in Rowland Unified School District as a child, has been teaching for 20 years, with 18 of those at Rorimer.

"Teaching is a lifelong journey for me," she said, "I am proud to be an educator. I just love it!"

Once the students calmed down from all the excitement, they helped Pryor open up the gift box to reveal various important classroom supplies.

It included a digital camera and photo paper that could be used for special projects, and of course all the other little things needed to run a classroom, such as pens, boxes and boxes of pencils, paper clips, folder files, dry-erase board markers, regular color markers, Post-It notes and much more.

Hicks said the supplies will be used well by Pryor who, knowing her giving nature, may even share with the other teachers who were not aware Pryor was the winner before the presentation Oct. 6.

"Pryor is always looking to improve on her skill and she's always trying harder," said Hicks, "The rest of the teachers were so proud of her and congratulating her throughout the day."

Through the event, OfficeMax hopes to educate and motivate the public to take action and partner with schools in their community to help eliminate teacher-funded classrooms. This is the program's second year.

According to national studies conducted by the National Education Association, teachers spend nearly $1,200 out of their own pockets each year for basic classroom supplies. That totals to about $4 billion a year.

"Teachers do spend a lot of money out of their pocket for supplies for their classroom," said Hicks, "so this is a nice treat."

claudia.palma@sgvn.com

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