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Gresham-Barlow educators are celebrated with gift cards to Gresham enterprises

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT  - Superintendent Katrise Perera, in grey coat, was handing out gift cards at East Gresham Elmentary School.

The Gresham-Barlow School District honored its teachers and gave a boost to local businesses during the recent Teacher Appreciation Week.

The statewide stay-home orders and closure of non-essential businesses designed to tamp down the COVID-19 epidemic have devastated restaurants, stores and other merchants. So, to honor teachers and to help local businesses, the district handed out gift certificates to teachers good at local retailers, restaurants and venues.

"It's great to see people, friendly faces, It's just really encouraging, it makes us feel appreciated," said Kimberly McCaffrey, who teaches first grade at Highland Elementary School.

McCaffrey said she is glad the gift certificates were from local businesses.

"I appreciate how much our community is trying to support them. Every individual citizen is trying to work hard to make sure that we keep those businesses running so that when we all come back, they are there," she said.

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM-BARLOW SCHOOL DISTRICT  - A teacher stops by Powell Valley Elementary School to pick up her gift card. Social-distancing was de rigueur.

"My heart really goes out to them because of how difficult it must be to run a business. I come from a family of small business owners and I know the struggle that it is to provide for your family," she added.

Jeremiah Hickman, who teaches at Dexter McCarty Middle School, agreed.

"It's a great way to support the local businesses and families that live and work here," he said.

Each of the district's approximately 600 teachers got a $10 gift certificate that can be redeemed at a local business. The school district and the education association partnered to purchase and distribute the gift certificates.

The teachers picked up their certificates at three Gresham-Barlow schools on Wednesday, May 6, in a social-distanced, drive-through format. Teachers who were unable to pick them up were scheduled to get them at a later date.

The gift certificates come from a variety of merchants in the Gresham area, such as treat shop Frenzi, Core Coffee, The Gresham Burrito Shop and Cine Escapes.

"We felt it was important to do what we could to give back to the businesses that have supported our schools for many years, especially during this challenging time," Superintendent Katrise Perera said in a statement. Teacher Appreciation Week was Monday May 4 through Friday, May 8.

Added Perera: "We are proud to partner with the Gresham-Barlow Education Foundation to honor our educators and promote the businesses in our area."

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