Heather Wilson is a veteran administrator in Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54, but she still remembers her days as a teacher and math coach at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Glen Ellyn.
"I know firsthand just how much teachers spend of their own money to make sure their students have what they needed to succeed," says Wilson, in her first year as principal of Eisenhower Junior High School in Hoffman Estates.
That's why a recent all-school assembly she led at the school was so meaningful.
Wilson and her assistant principal, Amy Houlihan, welcomed a pair of officials from the Burlington Stores, formerly known as Burlington Coat Factory, including Tom Floore, regional manager, and Dan Hoss, manager of the newest Burlington Store on Roselle Road in Hoffman Estates.
At the assembly, in front of the school's more than 600 seventh- and eighth-graders, Burlington Stores donated $10,000 to Eisenhower Junior High in celebration of its new store.
The donation is not a single contribution. Instead, Burlington officials have partnered with the Adopt A Classroom project, which offers teachers a way to present wish lists of materials needed for their students and classrooms.
"This gift means so much to our teachers," Wilson says. "When we break it all down, it comes down to about $160 per teacher, which isn't a huge amount, but it will make a difference."
Since leaving Glen Ellyn, Wilson has served as an assistant principal at Frost Junior High School in Schaumburg and as principal of Link and Nerge elementary schools in Elk Grove Village. Her last assignment before Eisenhower was as principal of Keller Junior High School in Schaumburg.
She has seen all kinds of needs in the classroom and says this kind of corporate partnership is a generous amount and very meaningful. This donation -- geared toward increasing classroom materials -- will directly impact Eisenhower students.
"This demonstrates just how much our community is here to help support your success," Wilson told students at the assembly.
The Burlington Stores began partnering with Adopt A Classroom last month, beginning on World Teachers' Day, when the company adopted nearly 600 classrooms in the communities where their stores are located, donating $1,000 to each.
This donation came on the heels of a back-to-school campaign at Burlington Stores, which collected more than $1.55 million for AdoptAClassroom.org. The remaining funds were distributed to schools in neighborhoods where Burlington was opening new stores during this school year.
"As a caring company, Burlington is committed to giving back to the communities in which we live and work," said President, CEO and Chairman of Burlington Stores Tom Kingsbury in a statement. "We are excited that each Burlington location is able to adopt a local classroom in their community, and when we open new stores, each location is adopting an entire school, ensuring all teachers and their students have what they need to learn and succeed."
The Hoffman Estates store is their latest participant. It opened this fall and caters to families with its assortment of ladies' apparel, menswear, family footwear, children's clothing, furniture and accessories for babies at Baby Depot.
Dan Hoss, manager of the store, said the donation to Eisenhower was a way to give back to the Hoffman Estates families which the store serves.