A Cleveland school is getting a thousand dollars in dough, thanks to a teacher who knows how to pick the right pie. That’s pie, as in pizza.
Candice Chriszt [pronounced like mist] is a fourth-grade teacher at Madison Community School, a K-8 charter school on Cleveland’s west side. Chriszt is one of eight winners in the 2012 Totino’s Fun-Atic of the Year Contest. As a winner, she receives 10,000 Bonus Box Tops for Education® and her photo is on select packages of Totino’s Party Pizza® during January.
I talked with an ecstatic Chriszt on the phone last week and she told me the school just received the 10,000 box tops – a $1000 value – earlier this month. “I found out in July that I had won! I was so excited. I have never really won anything like this,” Chriszt said.
The Box Tops for Education® program is a simple way for the community to help schools earn money. The Box Top coupons can be found on household items, such as cereal boxes, paper towels and various snacks. Parents clip the coupons, send them to school with their kids, and the schools cash-in the box tops for money to be used for the school.
Chriszt says her school plans to purchase new and engaging software that allows the students to play educational games.
As the Box Top coordinator for Madison, Chriszt says she’s constantly looking for creative ways to boost box tops and also to make learning fun. While surfing the internet, she stumbled across the Totino’s Party Pizza contest.
More than 1,700 entries were received from U.S. consumers, answering questions about themselves, why education and family was important and what project they would fund at their school, if they won.
Since it was last year that Chriszt found out she had won the contest, she didn’t know until this month that her face would be on select packages of Totino’s pizza boxes. One of her former students surprised her with the news.
"This kid comes running up the stairs, saying I found you, I found you!" "I thought, 'What are you talking about'?" "He pulls this pizza box out of his book bag and there I was on the box. He gave it to me." The pizza box now has a permanent home on the school’s Box Top for Education bulletin board for all to see.
As of last week, Chriszt told me she hasn’t yet seen the specially marked pizza boxes in the grocery store, but she keeps checking back. And in case you’re wondering about her favorite pizza, pepperoni pizza gets the Chriszt nod.
Chriszt on her love for teaching
For two years straight, Chriszt’s students have crowned her a winner for her creative teaching. The Totino’s Pizza contest was a bonus.
"My students voted me most fun and energetic teacher. I like to sing and sometimes dance when I teach. Some would say I dance to the beat of a different drum. I love to use any learning activity that I can turn into games," Chriszt said.
A teacher for five years now, Chriszt says she’s always wanted to be a teacher since she was a kid. Her teachers inspired her; therefore, she too wants to inspire her students.
"I absolutely love teaching. Teaching gives me an opportunity to make the world a better place. We are shaping the minds of tomorrow. It’s inspiring to know that I could be teaching a future president, a scientist who is going to cure cancer, an engineer who is going to build the next big thing, an artist who will inspire creativity and imagination through their work, a carpenter who will build houses that will become homes for thousands, or a best selling author who will bring the world to tears will their elegant words. There is no telling where my students will go and I am able to lead them through one leg of their journey to greatness."
Chriszt added her school has community in the school name for good reason. "We have such a wonderful community here at Madison. The students are excited about learning, as are the teachers."