SPRINGDALE, Ark (KFSM) — Today marks the 53rd time the City of Springdale has celebrated its school teachers with a back to school kick-off event.
According to the Springdale Chamber of Commerce, it is the biggest teacher appreciation event in the country.
“This event is important because our business community truly understands and appreciates the high quality our teachers produce in educating our kids. So if your children are learning at the highest possible rate, that gives these businesses great great great future employees. That’s what drives our economy is having quality employees and it all starts in the schools," said Bill Rogers the Chamber of Commerce VP of Communications and Special Events.
The chamber partners with surrounding businesses for the event and this year there were 82 vendors present. The vendors and the chamber combined for approximately $232,000 of donated gifts for teachers and administrators. The total includes two $10,000 vouchers to Sam's Furniture, which are presented to the two most deserving teachers in the district.
This year, more than 2,000 teachers showed up to the event.
The event is broken into two sections. The first section began at 7:30 a.m. where breakfast was served to teachers.
“They keep surprising me with things. I’ve been teaching for nine years and this is the first time I’ve experienced anything like this," said Springdale High School teacher Eugene Young.
Young is a first-timer at the event and says the community support boosts morale.
This is the 35th year Central Junior High School teacher Thomas Pittman has been in attendance and says the event makes a difference.
“That’s the secret. Because then, not only do we work harder but we work harder because you want to," Pittman said. "It’s not a dread or oh do I have to get up and go to work. It’s like I get to go do something I love to do. So it’s super positive getting started with this event."
The second session began at 12:30 p.m. and lunch was provided for the teachers.
Springdale schools start back on August 13.