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Office Max donates to Gilbert

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As students and teachers at Gilbert elementary filed in the cafeteria for an assembly on Tuesday, one questioned remained - What is this all about? Moments later, their question was answered.

 OfficeMAX’S “A Day Made Better” program surprised teacher Benito Garcia with $900 worth of supplies for his classroom, including a new teachers’ chair, camera, laminator and so much more. Mr. Garcia also received a framed certificate of appreciation.

“I am in total shock. I get up every morning because of them (students). I am here everyday because of this school. Thank you very much,” he said as he addressed his fellow teachers and students grades pre-K through 5th

Turns out, the entire school will benefit from Mr. Garcia’s recognition. OfficeMAX Store Manager Ralph Baiza and his team also collected donations amounting to $1,500 in merchandise and supplies from customers and employees. It will be distributed throughout all grade levels.

 “Our sales associates religiously asked every customer and employee to donate and even donated a great deal themselves. This year we were able to donate by far the most our organization has ever donated,” Baiza said.

 Baiza and his team had been collecting donations since July.

 Mr. Garcia was nominated for the “Day Made Better” award by Ms. Herlinda Martinez-Longoria, Principal of Gilbert ES. In the essay application she “eloquently” described Mr. Garcia’s teaching efforts, Baize said, adding that hers was chosen out of more than a thousand others in the state of Texas.

“Mr. Garcia is such a great teacher and he builds great relationships with the children and families of not only his classes but in all grade levels Pre-K through 5th. All the kids know and love him and he was so deserving of it,” Ms. Longoria said.

 Mr. Garcia has been teaching for 35 years and now teaches science, supplemental mathematics and social students for kids in grades 3rd-5th. You can see read more about Mr. Garcia online at