For the first time, Incorporate Massage will award not one, but two winners in its annual Teacher Appreciation Week Event.
The responses were overwhelming. With more nominations pouring in than ever, Incorporate Massage has announced that Whittier Elementary in West Valley, Utah and Tarrant Elementary in Hampton, Virginia have both been selected to receive free massages for their entire faculty.
Whittier Elementary stood out among the other entrants because of the high levels of stress the teachers work under. Dealing with many special needs students, those teachers have found a way to do their jobs in the classroom while also supporting each other after work.
But the nomination process took an unexpected turn this year as more and more teachers and parents across the country began to nominate schools thousands of miles away from Incorporate Massage's home-base in Utah.
The results even surprised CEO and founder Amelia Wilcox. "We weren't planning on opening up the competition to states outside of Utah where we're headquartered," she says. "But the outpouring we received from the parents, students, and teachers at Tarrant Elementary was so enormous that we felt we had to take care of this school, even though that wasn't our original plan."
Tarrant Elementary school, located in Hampton, Virginia will close its doors at the end of the school year. The painful decision comes as a result of budget cuts in their school disctrict. But the ramifications are being felt within the halls and throughout the community as many of Tarrant's teachers have no idea where—and even if—they'll be working next year.
To compound matters, many of the students at Tarrant live below the poverty line, and the students, in many cases rely on their teachers for support outside of the classroom as well. Those same teachers often supply the bulk of their personal time and money to supply their students and work with them after hours. It's that devotion to students that captured the hearts of Incorporate Massage's employees, and it speaks to the true nature of the program.
"While we can't do much about reopening Tarrant Elementary's doors in the fall," Wilcox says, "we can make sure we do our part to alleviate a little bit of the stress that's going on in their lives. We wish we could do more."
As a winner of Incorporate Massage's Taking Care of Teachers program, the teachers of Tarrant Elementary and Whittier elementary will both receive some much-deserved R&R with free massages for a day courtesy of the Utah-based company.