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Teachers ride, shop
RVES Back to School pic
University of North Georgia student-teacher Jessica Stimpson, left, and Riverview Elementary Special Education teacher Lauren Stephenson, right, plan their back-to-school activities with Principal Julia Mashburn, center. - photo by David Renner Dawson Community News

Riverview Elementary School teachers received a surprise on Monday in the form of a shopping trip to Walmart.

The teachers set off from Riverview Elementary to take a bus tour of the route their students would take each morning to get to school. According to Riverview Principal Julia Mashburn, this was to give the teachers some bonding time and to show them what their students experienced each morning before class.

"The bus routes were very insightful. It was very interesting to see where all of the students live," said Riverview Special Education teacher Lauren Stephenson. "They're so close to our school, but it's definitely different than what I'm used to seeing."
After the bus ride, the teachers stopped by Walmart for some group school supply shopping. Waiting for each of them was a $25 gift card donated by the store.

"They didn't know they were getting the gift cards," Mashburn said. "They were able to purchase things to get them through the year."

Because the teachers were in pre-planning, all 38 teachers and workers, including all K-5, auxiliary such as art, music and P.E. and special education teachers were given cards to purchase supplies.

"I put in a request with Walmart and they were able to help with that," Mashburn said. "This was available through a very generous donation from them."

The teachers were thrilled to find out about the cards, each of them setting off into the school supplies isle with a smile.

"We were very excited when we found out about the gift cards," Stephenson said. "It was very shocking."

According to Mashburn, Riverview Elementary tries to do something like this each year for teachers.

"We have been open for three years, but I think it has taken this long for us to really know who Riverview Elementary is," she said.

"This year is the first year we've made decisions because of who we are and what we need. Every year we try to have a common experience that all of the teachers experience together. That's what unifies us."