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800 teachers stock up for back-to-school

Duval County Teacher Depot holds 20th annual expo

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Families aren't the only ones stocking up on school supplies. Duval County teachers, who are also are on an annual ritual to stock up, flocked to the Teacher Supply Depot's annual back-to-school expo Friday.

Close to 800 teachers waited their turn to get highlighters, folders and even big items like file cabinets during the depot's 20th annual giveaway, which eases the burden of back-to-school costs.

"You know that treasure chest you get when you've done a good deed in class and you get to go pick something out of that treasure box? This is exactly the same thing, just on a grownup level," said Melissa Skipper, a guidance counselor at Frank H. Peterson Academies of Technology.

"I was blown away," Jackson High School 10th-grade reading coach Rikki Scott said while waiting in line. "I feel like I'm at a concert and everyone's camping out waiting to meet Chris Brown or something."

Teachers can bring two tote bags to fill with supplies, then head into a room filled with desks, chairs and shelves. There's also a one-stop shop for art teachers, who might need things like paint, glitter and mugs.

"It's not like I'm waiting in line to pay for new things. I'm waiting in line to get free things, which is good," Scott said.

The expo is made possible through donations from the community and businesses.

For new teachers getting a classroom for the first time, the event can save them hundreds of dollars that might have come out of their own pockets.

"I just moved here and supplies are expensive, so this is going to help get a lot of things for my students, as well as for myself to make the classroom more organized," Scott said.

"It's a huge help," said Justin Williams, a Lee High School geometry teacher. "This is my first year with a classroom, so I pretty much need everything. So it can end up costing me hundreds and hundreds of dollars. so this is very beneficial for me."

While it's teachers stocking up, the supplies are ultimately meant to benefit the students.

"Teachers have so many students that come to class unprepared, and this allows them to give students the tools that they need to be successful," said Chris Buckley, a depot organizer.