Maritza Riffo, a first-grade teacher at Ashley IB Magnet Elementary School, is the local winner of “A Day Made Better,” a national educational initiative sponsored by OfficeMax and AdoptAClassroom.org.
Local OfficeMax employees paid a surprise visit to Riffo’s classroom last week to present her with $1,000 worth of educational materials. The same scene played out in 1,000 classrooms across the country as more than 1,000 other teachers learned of their wins.
First, the OfficeMax team wheeled in a brand-new chair for Riffo. Following close behind were OfficeMax’s Steve Little and Adam Blackley, lugging a great big corrugated-cardboard box filled with educational supplies.
“Let’s dig into the goodies,” called out one of the first-graders.
And that’s what they did. The students came over and helped Riffo see what all was inside. They found a backpack, markers, disinfectant wipes and all sorts of other things that will come in handy in the classroom.
Looking on, Tommie Thompson, a kindergarten assistant who had come in for the surprise, said, “She is the hardest-working teacher I have ever met.”
Riffo is the only winner in Forsyth County. After things settled down a bit, the people from OfficeMax read the letter that Robert Ash, the principal at Ashley, sent when he nominated her: “Ms. Riffo is an excellent first-grade teacher. She not only teaches her students all subjects for first grade, but she does it in English and Spanish. She is part of our school’s Dual Immersion program that helps students become bilingual in English and Spanish by the end of fifth grade. Her class of 24 students consists of native English and Spanish students. She does all of this while maintaining a wonderful sense of responsibility, humility and compassion. She strives for all of her students to reach far beyond their own abilities and sees her students excel. She is a remarkable teacher who well-deserves to be recognized for her efforts.”
“Thank you so much. I just love what I do here,” Riffo said. “I love being with the kids. And I love teaching, and I love being in this school.”