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Educators Who Change Lives

$10,000 Supply Run

One Florida teacher hits the pavement for his students.


By Meredith Barnett

Photo by Gerardo Mora

When Tenoroc High School teacher Rafael Martin (pictured, right) assembled his supply lists for the year, he knew many of his students would be unable to afford even the paper. This October, he went the distance to help, running 50 miles from his school in Lakeland, Florida, to Orlando to raise money and awareness for his students’ needs.

Martin’s supply run paid off even more than he’d hoped. At the finish line, the special education teacher was surprised with more than $10,000 of school supplies from Office Max, including digital cameras, calculators, copy paper, and more.

 “I’ve never felt more accomplished and empowered to make a difference for my school and am so thankful for everyone’s support,“ said Martin after the 15-hour trek. Though he’d passed out from dehydration when he attempted the run in May, he finished the journey this time around and said every mile was worth it.

His dedication energized many members of his community, who donated to his cause and gathered along the route to cheer, raising signs that read, “Mr. Martin ROCS!” Tenoroc has been Martin’s home for three years, and advocating for his special education students is his top priority.

“I wish I had a teacher like me when I was in school who could understand what I was going through,” said Martin, who realized in college that his problems in school were caused by a learning disability. “I try to be that understanding person for my students, connect with them, and make learning obtainable.”

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