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A week of being appreciated at Rio Vista

Elementary school shows its gratitude to teachers, support staff.

Posted: May 6, 2008 1:49 a.m.
Updated: July 7, 2008 5:01 a.m.
Inside the "Zen Den," Jennifer Ejinduaka was taking a break with a neck and shoulder massage.

The Rio Vista Elementary School teacher sat in the padded chair for about 10 minutes as the massage therapist student rubbed the tension from her back.

After her massage was done, Ejinduaka, who teaches a second- and third-grade class, had a smile on her face while looking noticeably relaxed.

"It was great, absolutely," she said, noting the special treatment came at a time when the school is busy with open house preparations.

The lunch-time massages in the teacher's lounge were part of "Tranquility Tuesday," a week-long effort from Rio Vista's students, school staff and PTA members to show appreciation for their teachers.

Like many other local schools, Rio Vista Elementary has hosted teacher appreciation weeks for years.

Isa DeArmas, principal of the Canyon Country school, said the overall goal is about initiating appreciation for a group of educators who "put their heart and soul into what they do."

She said that many of the teachers put in numerous hours outside of the normal school day to give the children the best they can.

DeArmas added that the gratitude also extended to the school's classified and support staff.

Sharon Nunn, PTA president for Rio Vista Elementary, said this year's theme was "Relaxed, Refreshed and Rejuvenated," turning the teacher's lounge into a spa retreat.

Along with Tuesday's massages and smoothie giveaway, the week's celebration, funded by the PTA and various fundraisers, included manicures on Monday, "Wind Down Wednesday's" panini sandwiches and salads, "Therapy Thursday's" baked potato bar and sushi and salads lunches on Friday.

Students gave thanks to their teachers in the form of dozens of cards and notes made by the youngsters.
DeArmas said students also wore their teacher's favorite color on a certain day as another way of showing gratitude.

With help from the PTA, students also made door-sized posters with kind phrases that hung outside each classroom.

"We do care and appreciate them each day," DeArmas said.

Nunn views the appreciation week as a way for kids to understand the idea of giving, especially when it comes to receiving a good education.

"It's a tradition that they get to participate in," she said. "For the seven years they are there, to see the importance of showing appreciation."


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