In 1998, Mrs. Ault walked into Dr. Phillips High School as a new math teacher for Orange County public schools. She remembers feeling the first day of school butterflies, despite more than two decades of teaching under her belt; but her nerves were effortlessly masked by her immediate commitment and dedication to the new students she was eager to teach. It was those traits that would leave an unforgettable mark on a student in one of her first classes: Ajay Bundey.

Math wasn’t Ajay’s strongest suit; his interests at the time lay in civics and language arts. When it came to learning, he unfortunately found himself at odds with numbers. As his teacher, Mrs. Ault devoted personal time and effort to help him navigate the complexities of mathematics all the way through to his graduation. Little did they both know this support would set the foundation for an unexpected journey.

After high school, Ajay dreamed of a career in Washington, D.C. leading him to study political science at the University of Central Florida and attend graduate school at the American University in D.C. Fate eventually led him back to the very place where his interests began—Dr. Phillips High School. Ajay returned to his alma mater to teach social studies and was guided through his new journey as an educator by a compassionate peer mentor he already knew and trusted for years: Terry.

When Ajay was a student, the question was not “if” but “which” college he would attend. He quickly realized in his first year of teaching that not all children experienced school with that luxury.

I may not understand the background of every student, but I want to be able to support them where they are.

I once caught a student not focusing on a video assignment, but I quickly realized that she was counting the coins she found in her backpack to calculate what food she could get from the vending machine because she didn’t have breakfast.

I can find such great resources at A Gift for Teaching, like a free new tumbler cup. Then to be able to give it to a student so they can freely refill it at the water fountain all day instead of going without – it’s great!

Today, Ajay is a 7th grade civics teacher at Gotha Middle School. In his experience, building a supportive environment with readily available supplies and tools to help students realize their potential is what makes the classroom an equalizer for every child.

Having access to free classroom materials through A Gift for Teaching during the entire school year has taken weight off his and his student’s shoulders, allowing them to focus on teaching and learning.

My students come to school with the best that they have, and I make sure I reciprocate that and give my best to them. A Gift for Teaching allows me to do my best, allows me to focus on teaching.

During the year, students don’t have to go for want the way they once did because they know they can come into class and get supplies if they need them. We don’t need to worry about HOW to get supplies to learn because they’re already there. It’s such a huge game-changer.

Ajay’s journey from a student to becoming a teacher is a reminder of the transitive power of education. It’s a testament that the impact of a dedicated teacher extends far beyond the classroom, shaping the future of not just one student but influencing the generations they, too, will inspire.

Want to help teachers like Ajay and Mrs. Adult make a lasting impact on local students?

Consider joining our monthly giving community of Classroom Heroes to help continue empowering teachers and inspiring students throughout the year. Your giving adds up!

In honor of our 25th birthday, generous funders will be matching new recurring monthly donations for an entire year. With this exclusive opportunity, a commitment to a $25 recurring gift will now go even further and provide six classrooms with access to essential supplies a year.

Your contribution isn’t just about replenishing the essential supplies teachers and students need for the rest of the school year; it’s about creating success stories for future leaders in our community.


(More Student Journeys, Teacher Legacies stories: Meet Terry as well as Meet Emma and Sara)