ASU spirit packet gets teachers ready for school

Ryan Keating (’03 BAE), who teaches math at Perry High School in Gilbert, received his teacher's packet and decorated his classroom.

This summer, the ASU Alumni Association is helping Sun Devil educators get ready for back-to-school season with a maroon and gold Back to School Pack. The ASU-themed spirit packet, geared for alumni who work in schools at any level from pre-kindergarten through high school, contains items for the teacher, students and classroom. 

“The ASU Alumni Association and its university partners want to equip teachers and their classrooms with materials that would inspire students to work hard in their endeavors and strive for their future,” said Christine K. Wilkinson, president and CEO of the association. “The Sun Devil spirit pack helps these teachers spread maroon and gold pride in their classrooms.”

The ASU Back to School Pack can be requested through an online form and should be ordered by Aug. 31. After receiving the packet, educators are asked to post a selfie on social media using #sundevilteacher.

In partnership with Educational Outreach and Student Services and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, this year’s packet includes a clear backpack and notepads for the educators, posters for the classroom and Sparky bookmarks and stickers for the students. The spirit packet is ideal for teachers, guidance counselors, social workers, librarians and English language learning teachers. Last year, the initiative engaged more than 2,200 educators from across 30 states and two countries.

Tina Merlina (’97 BAE), who teaches at the Bret R. Tarver School in Phoenix, requested a packet both years for her fourth grade classroom.

“I credit my wonderful education as well as the amazing mentors along the way,” she said. The Rodel Foundation of Arizona named Merlina a 2011 Rodel Exemplary Teacher.

“In a family full of Wildcats, I am the lone Sun Devil," said Mimi McGarey (’81 BAE), who teaches at St. Joseph Catholic School in Tucson. "I am a proud ASU representative teaching in Tucson. My students know who Sparky is, the ‘fear the fork’ symbol, and receive ASU swag as occasional prizes.”

McGarey requested an ASU teachers packet for her classroom both years.

“I absolutely loved spreading Sun Devil spirit in my classroom last year, and it has created a friendly rivalry among my colleagues and students. We also use the Pat Tillman story when we talk about Veterans Day and what it means to be a hero. I truly hope that some of my second graders will go on to become Sun Devils and if not, they will always have fond memories of Sparky and great sportsmanship.”

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