Jackie Botica often goes the extra mile for her first-grade students at Field Stevenson Elementary, but last month the teacher only had to go a few dozen feet to make a lasting impact.
As part of a local fashion show sponsored by Jones New York to benefit education, Botica strutted her stuff on the catwalk, earning $500 to spend in her classroom. Botica was one of half a dozen teachers chosen from roughly 100 area applicants to model clothing from Jones of New York during their Shop for Education Week, in October.
On a whim, Botica’s sister encouraged her to participate in the event.
“I’ve never modeled before,” Botica said. “I’m 5 feet 4 inches; I’m not tall. But I wasn’t nervous. I would definitely do it again.”
For the fashion show Botica modeled five outfits which were then hers to keep. Initially, Botica thought the outfits were the only thing she was going to receive for her time, but then she got an e-mail telling her that all the teachers who modeled were being given $500 to spend on classroom supplies.
In 2005, Jones of New York established the nationwide program to help teachers in the classroom.
“We’re very happy to be able to have the opportunity to reach out to support teachers,” Marcella Medina of Ogilvy, the public relations firm for Jones NY, said.
The elementary school teacher already has few ideas on how to spend the funds, and is excited by the idea of improving the learning environment.
“I’m going to spend it on an awesome library for the room,” Botica said. “I’m going to put together some nice centers, maybe a quiet center and a writing center.”
Botica kept the news about the fashion show fairly quiet and only informed Principal Robert Giovannoni once she learned that she had won the $500 for the classroom.
“I was delighted, but not surprised,” Giovannoni said. “Jackie is enthusiastic and dedicated. She’s dynamic in the classroom. The kids love her.”
Giovannoni also noted Botica finished her second Chicago marathon last month and just completed her master’s degree in secondary math education over the summer.
“You can see how her involvement in the marathon is reflected in the classroom in two ways: preparation and the ability to finish when the going gets tough,” Giovannoni said.
Botica said the extra cash will help tremendously. Like many teachers, she occasionally spends her own money on classroom materials.
As for the new outfits she picked up at the fashion show, Botica said those too, will occasionally make it into the classroom.
“Yes, but maybe not on the days when we’re writing our spelling words in shaving cream.”