This September, and eNasco set out to find five of the most deserving teachers in America and award them with $5,500 toward school supplies. Almost 1,000 teachers from across America responded to our call with compelling stories illustrating the hardships so many of our nation's schools are struggling to overcome. Faced with the difficult task of selecting winners, we were overwhelmed by the moving and heartfelt essays submitted by teachers from big cities and small towns alike. Our decision has been made, and we are proud to announce the five winners of the Tools for Teaching Contest:

  Christine Rivan
3rd Grade
Thomas Jefferson Primary
Peoria, Illinois

Christine's love for teaching has spanned a career of more than 17 years. She has taught various grade levels from kindergarten to middle school, including blended classes with special education students. Her dedication to the children in her class has extended to using her own salary to make sure her students had the supplies they needed.

"I put all of my spare change from my small teacher's salary into my classroom for the sake of my poor, inner-city students," said Christine. "I willingly spend about $50 per month on school supplies because I know it is necessary."

Read Christine's winning essay * and eNasco congratulate Christine Rivan!
RUNNER UP: $1,500
  Kathryn Quigley
Special Education
Dillard High School
Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

After spending time working in various facilities as a recreational therapist, Kathryn quickly learned that her true love was teaching. She went back to school to earn her master's degree in exceptional students education and resolutely pursued her dream. During her time at Dillard High School, Kathryn has made an impact on the lives of her students and constantly strives for more, stating,

"Since my students stay in my classroom three quarters of their day, I feel that it is important to provide them with an environment not only where they feel comfortable but where they have fun and have interactive materials, as well. With the help of the 'Tools for Teaching' contest I could provide these materials for them. I want my students to have fun and I want my students to be as excited to learn as I am to teach!"

Read Kathryn's winning essay * and eNasco salute Kathryn Quigley!
  Bhavna Rawal
Dual credit chemistry teacher
Northbrook High School
Houston, Texas

Bhavna has a true passion for chemistry and for teaching. She uses a variety of methods to help her students understand and learn the complex nature of her subject, such as PowerPoints, group activities, lab experiments, videos and other materials. After a successful career as a college professor, Bhavna wanted to bring her enthusiasm to high school students, teaching dual enrollment classes at Northbrook High School. Unfortunately, the tight economy has made it difficult.

"Students discover they can do college work, meet the challenge, do well, and suddenly, new horizons are at their fingertips," said Bhavna. "But there's a catch…There are simply NO FUNDS available to buy the college level lab equipment. The wonderful opportunity dies, strictly from a lack of lab equipment."

Read Bhavna's winning essay * and eNasco hope their contribution of supplies will help Bhavna and her students reach their goals!

  Kekai Bryant-Williams
9th-12th Grade Math
George Washington Preparatory High School
Los Angeles, California

Winner and newest to teaching, Kekai brings a fresh perspective and a youthful enthusiasm to her classroom. Not only is she the high school math teacher at George Washington Preparatory High School, Kekai is also the founder and moderator of the Pacific Islander Student Association. She truly epitomizes what a loving, caring educator can do for students.

"My hope is not only to simply win a contest, but to inspire my students, push their potential, and to let them know that someone out there truly does care whether they make it or not," said Kekai.

Read Kekai's winning essay *

Best wishes to Kekai and her students and eNasco!
  Geri Ellner Krim
Library Media Specialist
Brooklyn Collegiate
Brooklyn, New York

Since the library is the center of any school, Library Media Specialist Geri Ellner Krim interacts with all 580 students at Brooklyn Collegiate teaching information skills, and working with every teacher to provide students the best education possible. Over the years she has received a number of awards and grants, including the Giant Step Award for improving her school's library program.

Geri, a giving participant in the life of the school and its students, said, "My classroom starts at the library and reaches out to the other classrooms. The library is the hub of the school. Each spoke connects to another classroom. I would like to use the resources I purchase to reach as many classrooms as possible."

Read Geri's winning essay * and eNasco hope their support will allow Geri to help all her students realize their dreams!

Watch the entire awards presentation

* These essays have been edited for clarity.