More than 1,800 teachers got an end-of-school year gift recently from People Pride Inc., funded in part by team members at Investment Corporation of America.
John and Carol Bushman are co-founders of People Pride, a privately funded program for at-risk Odessa students that pays full tuition, books and dormitory costs as long as they attend a state-supported school.
Some 1,708 checks were distributed last week and 100 to 120 are going out this week, John Bushman said.
Teachers will receive $500 in cash with another $500 in gift certificates to any of ICA’s restaurants, hotels, A-1 Homes, skating or any other retail operation that the corporation owns, if they renew their contract and start back in the upcoming school year. In total, it’s close to $2 million in gifts.
Plus, they get an ongoing team member discount after they use the $500, which gives them deeply discounted hotel rates, Bushman said.
He added that this was made possible by the work, support and agreement of ICA employees.
“I’m very proud to stay this is Team ICA that has made this possible and we’re so proud of that and all of them are very proud to have given those teachers. We’ve got hundreds of parents that work in this organization right here in the Permian Basin …,” Bushman said.
He added that the gifts were across the board for classroom teachers, “just to express unequivocal appreciation for their efforts.”
Hays STEAM Academy first-grade teacher Sydney Garcia said she was completely shocked by the gift.
“It has been such a blessing and it is amazing to know that our community supports teachers and is continuing to support teachers like myself, especially the people who continually give to teachers, whether that be through time, supplies, or money,” Garcia said.
“The gift will go a long way to help my family as we are expecting a baby boy in August. I know my coworkers feel just as blessed through the thoughtful gift as it has impacted each teacher differently, but greatly,” she added.
Horticulture teacher Christina Butler agreed that it was a blessing.
“I feel it may even encourage the teachers more to know that the community is behind us,” Butler said.