ShareThis Page
NexTier Bank to offer teachers money for school supplies |

NexTier Bank to offer teachers money for school supplies

Jamie Martines
| Tuesday, July 17, 2018 3:54 p.m

Teachers preparing to shell out for classroom supplies this fall could get some help from a local bank.

Kittaning-based NexTier Bank, N.A., will award three teachers who participate in their second annual Sponsor a Teacher essay contest up to $500 in gift cards to help buy classroom supplies for the upcoming school year. Submissions will be accepted until August 10, and winners will be announced soon after.

Digital Marketing and Innovation Director Christina Gavula said that she was inspired to start the competition last year after hearing about family and neighbors, who teach in Pittsburgh-area schools, who used their own money year after year to buy classroom supplies and decorations.

Gavula said that she wanted to help teachers like them create clean, fun and homey classroom environments that can be students’ safe places away from home.

About 94 percent of traditional public school teachers spend their own money on school supplies, according to a study published by the U.S. Department of Education in May 2018. About 88 percent of charter school teachers do the same.

On average, they’re spending about $479 per year without reimbursement, the study showed.

A look at sites like or, where teachers post fundraisers for classroom supplies ranging from calculators to Spanish-language books to tubas, helps to illustrate the needs of some local teachers. is currently hosting 56 fundraisers organized by teachers across Westmoreland County and 309 fundraisers by teachers across Allegheny County.

There are 84 fundraisers set up by teachers at Pittsburgh Public Schools on the site.

Many of these fundraisers top several hundred, if not thousands, of dollars.

The NexTier competition is open to the public—anyone can nominate a teacher working anywhere in Southwest Pennsylvania for an award—and entrants are asked to submit a 500-word response to the question: “If an alien from outer space came to visit your school, how would you describe what a teacher is and how they impact the lives of their students?”

Submissions can be sent to Paper submissions will be accepted at any NexTier branch. Teachers will receive a classroom set of folders, notebooks and pencils just for entering the contest.

The 28 NextTier branches across Armstrong, Allegheny, Butler and Westmoreland Counties will also be collecting school supply donations starting August 1. Donations will be shared with teachers and parents in local schools.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-850-2867, or via Twitter @Jamie_Martines.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.