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Kindergarten Teacher Surprised with $2,000 in #ThankATeacher Contest

Posted August 2021


On August 25, office supply company Staples surprised Kyrene teacher Megan Dunkelberger and Kyrene del Cielo Elementary School with news that the teacher and school were winners in the company's nationwide #ThankATeacher contest. Mrs. Dunkelberger received a check for $2,000. The school received gift cards totaling $5,000 to support other Cielo classrooms. Mrs. Dunkelberger is one of 20 educators from around the country to receive this award!


This past July, Staples encouraged parents and students to nominate their teachers by sharing personal stories of thanks and appreciation. After receiving many heart-warming nominations, a team of judges reviewed each submission and selected the winners. 


“Mrs. Dunkelberger is an amazing teacher who went above and beyond throughout this pandemic school year,” Erin O’Grady, the parent who submitted the nomination, said of Mrs. Dunkelberger. “She worked to teach her kindergarten class how to use Zoom, with an immense amount of patience and kindness, while also preparing adorable take-home notebooks and art supplies for class projects.”


Kyrene del Cielo principal, Mrs. Tammy Thaete, arranged for Staples to surprise Mrs. Dunkelberger at an outdoor celebration. Students from four Cielo kindergarten classes and their teachers, including Mrs. Dunkelberger, gathered on the basketball court but they were unaware of what was about to take place. Principal Thaete welcomed everyone, including Megan’s husband and daughter, with a short speech about the importance of gratitude. Staples representatives shared a few celebratory remarks about the contest before revealing two giant checks!


“This was a total surprise,” Mrs. Dunkelberger said. “I told my husband I saw news trucks in the school parking lot, and he pretended to not know anything about it!"


Mrs. Dunkelberger has taught in the Kyrene School District for several years. Megan is very passionate about education. One of her former students was on hand for the surprise celebration and assisted with presenting the exceptional teacher with a congratulatory banner. In addition to the $2,000 check for personal use, Staples is giving Mrs. Dunkelberger $600 intended to offset taxes on the $2,000.