(NewsUSA) -Education is a cornerstone of our culture and society. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, there are more than four million teachers in the United States. Every day, they go above and beyond to shape children's minds through their passion for lifelong learning.
The average teacher spends $500 investing in his or her classroom, with one in ten having spent $1,000 or more. Some teachers work in economically challenged districts where purchasing gym equipment, art supplies or even groceries with their own money helps engage a child, or their family, in education.
For the projected 60 million children who attend preschool through grade 12, the lengths to which educators go to invest outside of their curriculum and official hours is staggering.
Companies have earnestly started recognizing the work of educators everywhere, and online retailer zulily has taken National Teacher Appreciation Week a step further. zulily is launching a series of curated collections inspired by six teachers, selected through its Thank a Teacher Contest. The contest invited individuals from across the country to submit inspirational stories about a teacher who made a difference in their students' lives.
The brand received an influx of stories highlighting the different ways that teachers show dedication to their students. These stories include a teacher who created a Kindergarten Santa project to ensure that every child would have a Christmas present, and a teacher who continues to teach while undergoing chemotherapy because she wants to be with her students, who "give her life."
Teachers from across the country were nominated from preschool through grade 12, with schools including public, private, Head Start, Montessori, court school system and homeschool represented.
"We wanted to bring visibility to everything that teachers do and spotlight a few stories that are emblematic of all teachers," zulily's CEO, Darrell Cavens, says.
"Great educators have encouraged and impacted everyone in meaningful ways, big and small, which is why we wanted to share a heartfelt thank you, from all of us here at zulily."
During National Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12), zulily will run the curated teacher-inspired sales events, featuring classroom-ready merchandise in education categories, including: STEM, Art & Creative Play, Foreign Language, Homeschool & Montessori, Special Needs, and Teacher Supplies & Furniture. zulily is offering an additional 15 percent off items purchased from any of these six events.
Visit The Find to learn more about the 50 winners of the zulily Thank a Teacher Contest.