Tampa, Florida -- The Dorothy Thomas School in Tampa is a school for students who have not been successful in traditional institutions for various reasons. The school has individualized programs targeted at these special students.
"Every morning when students show up, you welcome them to school, tell them to have a great day, do your best... that's my motto, make good decisions and do the right thing," said John Rose, a paraprofessional at the school.
Rose has been doing the right thing at Dorothy Thomas for the past 20 years, helping students who have special challenges.
"We've had students who are practically homeless sometimes, and they go without," Rose said.
Each week, John goes out into the community and visits various yard sales and collects supplies and products. He then brings them back to the school store, where he uses them as incentives to reward the students.
"When they come into our school store, they're on a level system, 3 being the lowest to shop here and they can pick anything off the level-3 shelf. So the higher the level, the nicer the items."
What started as a few items on a shelf has blossomed into a school store and Rose provides products like deodorant and shampoo for kids who don't have these items at home.
"They'll tell me in confidentiality, so I'll give them a little token at the end of the day, so they're not embarrassed by their peers," Rose said.
This special awareness has led the Hillsborough Education Foundation to name Rose as a finalist for the Instructional Support Employee of the Year.
"It's a great honor, but I'm not too good on the aspect of recognition. I rather play it on the low side than somebody recognizing me."
John Rose, making a difference in our community.
Melvin Beal, 10 News