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Amazon surprises teachers at KCK elementary school, clears their wish lists

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Posted at 4:54 PM, Aug 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-30 18:26:10-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Amazon surprised teachers at M. E. Pearson Elementary Wednesday morning by clearing their Amazon wish lists completely.

Each teacher received free school supplies, which totaled approximately $7,000.

Amazon also presented a check worth $10,000 to the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools’ stem program “Project Lead the Way,” which was $5,000 more than promised.

“It took months of planning,” said Tosin Koami, one of the organizers working for Amazon for the event. “I’ll be specific, we kicked this off on May 25 of 2023.”

This was the first time Amazon made a donation like this for a Kansas City-metro school.

“[It was] pretty incredible,” said Colton Currie, who has been teaching at M. E. Pearson for 18 years. “It’s the first time ever having something like that happen here at M. E. Pearson since I’ve been here.”

In a press release from Amazon, it cited a number of factors for choosing M. E. Pearson as the recipient of these gifts, including the desire to "highlight the vital need at some of our local elementary schools as M. E. Pearson has 95% economically disadvantaged students among its population of 94% minority students.”

Konya Tyler has been teaching at M. E. Pearson for 26 years. She says as a teacher, there are some things she has gotten used to.

“Teachers purchase a lot of things on their own, and we don’t really think about it,” Tyler said.

It’s become so second nature, in fact, that she forgot to make her own Amazon wish list.

“I didn’t make a list because I have so much in here already, and you really don’t know what you need until you get in there with them and start doing things,” Tyler said.

That’s one part of the job that’s still unexpected.

“That's part of the reason why sometimes, it ends up coming out the pocket because you don’t know until in the moment,” Tyler said.

Tyler said today’s unexpected moment was a good one and that it was great to see teachers be appreciated, a sentiment Currie shared.

“Honestly, it felt really good,” Currie said. “We felt appreciated, and, I mean, it was just really nice.”