NewsUplifting Arizona


Sparky surprises teachers with swag bags

Sparky teacher appreciation.png
Posted at 3:44 PM, Aug 24, 2022

MESA, AZ — A special visitor arrived at Irving Elementary School in Mesa Wednesday, ready to surprise some of the hardest workers around! For the fourth year in a row, the ASU Alumni Association has delivered thousands of care packages to teachers who attended the university, making sure to kick off their new school year with a burst of school pride.

“When you have a school that goes out of their way to help kids and help teachers feel proud about their alma mater, it really helps build community in the classroom and outside it, gets kids thinking about college,” said fifth-grade teacher Brynn Bogard.

On this day, Sparky, ASU’s mascot strutted his way into three different classrooms. Sparky dropped-off swag bags filled with ASU-branded items like signs, ASU-themed paperclips, dog tags honoring Pat Tillman, and more. Of course, he delivered plenty of high fives to excited students along the way as well.

“This is just unbelievable, again it’s another thing where ASU goes above and beyond to make us feel loved and supported where sometimes we can feel so overwhelmed at the beginning of the school year,” said teacher Rhonda Best.

“When we first started, we hoped that we could send out about five hundred packs, in that first year we had over two thousand requests,” said ASU Alumni Association Vice President Trish Thiele-Keating.

Thiele-Keating says teachers who graduated from ASU simply have to request a swag bag online prior to September 9. They are then sent out promptly by her team. So far, they’ve received more than 4,000 requests from current educators from around the world.

“We want them to have that pride in all that they do and show their students that they can go to ASU someday too,” said Theil-Keating.

It certainly seems to be working as children of all ages chanted ASU and snapped pictures with Sparky at every turn, leaving these teachers and their schools feeling rejuvenated by the kindness.