Bronx teacher wins $5,000 from Staples #ThankATeacher contest

Melanie Curro, Girls Prep Bronx Elementary School won $5,000 from Staples.
Courtesy of Melanie Curro

Since she was young Melanie Curro knew she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mom and be a teacher. Recently, the 10-year educator was recognized for her efforts.

On Dec. 9, Staples announced the winners of its #ThankATeacher contest. Of the 3,000 plus entries, Curro from Girls Prep Bronx Elementary, 681 Kelly St., was selected as a winner for going above and beyond for students this year.

When learning shifted to online, Curro created and shared “How To” videos to help parents and students navigate the new technology. She held Zoom 1-on-1 meetings as well as class instruction.

She researched and shared links to interactive resources that helped students with their studies and emotional well-being. This year, she welcomed her new class by creating and sending Flat Teacher (inspired by Flat Stanley – printed and laminated at Staples) to each student.

“I’m really grateful. The award is amazing,” she said. “The teachers and staff all work so hard. It’s really nice to hear our efforts are appreciated.”

Curro, of Astoria, grew up in Maryland and as a child was always solving math problems and puzzles.

She volunteered at a Girl Scout camp and felt she would one day be a teacher.

“I loved working with kids,” Curro stated. “I feel like this is what I was meant to do.”

Her mom had a big influence on her and instilled in her the values of hard work and effort.

“I wanted to spread my love of learning,” she said. “It’s definitely nice that I’ve always had someone to go to for advice.”

According to Curro, working in the south Bronx for the past four years has been a privilege. The students are always eager to learn and make it fun to teach, she explained.

“It’s a great group of kids,” Curro commented. “I love how the students have a positive attitude towards math. I feel the girls at this school rise to the challenge.”

Teaching during the pandemic has been the toughest time of her career. She had never used Zoom before and in September; had a whole new group of students she had never met.

But, they adjusted and have gotten used to remote learning.

“Nobody was prepared for this,” she said. “We definitely had to find new ways of doing things.”

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