Insurance agent gives TIS teachers a welcome surprise

Bessemer Farmers Insurance Agent Kai Smith, right, speaks with teachers at Thompson Intermediate School during an Aug. 23 faculty meeting at the school.

As a former teacher at Montgomery’s Jefferson Davis High School, Kai Smith knows what it’s like to fill a classroom with a limited budged and money out of her own pocket.

For years, Smith, like many teachers, used creativity to make the most out of essential teaching tools like notebooks, pens and sticky notes.

So when her employer, Farmers Insurance, asked her to choose a platform to help this year, she didn’t have to ponder long before setting out to help teachers at Thompson Intermediate School.

“I remember when I was a teacher, it was so difficult for me to get school supplies every year,” Smith, a Bessemer Farmers agent, told TIS teachers during an Aug. 23 faculty meeting. “You really have to be creative with simple things.”

Smith attended the faculty meeting to surprise the school’s teachers with cloth bags filled with everything from Post-It notes to pencils in an effort to help the teachers as they return to the classroom for the fall semester.

“The most important profession in this world is teaching,” said Smith, whose son attends the school. “And a lot of people don’t recognize that.”

The bags also contained a copy of a DVD titled “Ordinary People Doing Extraordinary Things,” which described the childhoods of famous people like Michael Jordan and Albert Einstein.

“I love that video. It shows some wonderful things,” Smith said with a laugh. “The kids can really relate to it.”

The school’s principal, Ke Jones, also praised the teachers during the meeting.

“You guys are fantastic in everything you do,” Jones said. “We wanted to show you all how much you mean to us.”

Smith said she hoped the bags would let the teachers know they are appreciated by Farmer’s and the community.

“Thank you all so much for the work you all do,” Smith told the teachers. “We just wanted to let you all know we appreciate you and we are there for you.”