TAMPA, Fla. -- A Tampa Bay community has stepped up in a big way to help a first-year teacher who was struggling to make ends meet before the start of the school year.
Alexandra Plante is Gaither High School’s newest teacher for exceptional students.
“It’s that feeling of warmth and feeling of being a necessity in their life and me needing them just as much to grow as a person,” said Plante.
It’s a uniquely challenging time for teachers, especially first-year teachers, who are all charged with safely and carefully preparing a classroom during the coronavirus pandemic.
“As a first-year teacher, that’s the scariest thing. You’ll never have your classroom prepared your first year because that’s just so much money,” she said.
Plante works at a local pizza shop, scraping together what she can to invest into her classroom.
“When it’s slow or if I don’t get tipped one day, that’s less money that I can put into my classroom as a teacher,” said Plante.
Plante asked for some help, posting a link of an Amazon Wish List to a Fish Hawk neighborhood page on Facebook.
“I came home to a stack of Amazon packages up to my hip. It was insane," she said.
From post-its and colored pencils to sensory pillows, Plante estimates strangers shipped a few hundred dollars worth of school supplies to her front door.
“I’ll be able to provide a good first year for my students like they deserve and that the community backed me as an educator, it means a lot,” said Plante.