A teacher saved her life, now her Arlington store helps teachers save on supplies

ARLINGTON -- Jessica Marion had two goals while growing up: be the first in her family to graduate high school, and become a teacher.  But an undiagnosed learning disability--later found to be dyscalculia, kept her from passing her exit exam.

"I couldn't pass math," she recalls.  "My high school counselor told me that janitor [should be] my profession, that I shouldn't be a teacher."

That disappointment dropped her into a dark place.

"It hurt me so bad, and I almost committed suicide.  But my algebra teacher, she came in my classroom and she held me so tight, and she told me, 'Soar like the eagle that you are, and do not let a test stop you and dictate who you are.'"

Marion listened, and kept trying.  Ten years later she finally earned a high school equivalency diploma, four years after that she added an associate's degree, and she's now aiming for a bachelor's degree.

Instead of being a teacher she got into daycare to be involved with kids, but she still wanted to do something for the teaching community that had done so much for her.  In 2010 she started a non-profit which would eventually be called "Teacher Appreciation Program," and on Saturday morning she opened a store in Arlington to sell donated classroom materials, such as books, games, wall decor, and clothing.  Proceeds from the Teacher Resale Shop benefit the foundation, and the discounted prices benefit teachers who often have to pay hundreds of dollars of their own money for school supplies.

"Some schools give you stuff, some schools don't, so it depends on where you work," says first-grade teacher Heather Powell, who waited in a line that stretched around a corner of the building to get in.  "I've spent a lot over the years, so it's very important to have something like this.  It's very nice."

The Teacher Resale Shop is located at 3330 Matlock Road in Suite 118-D and is open Mondays through Thursdays from 7-9 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m., and Sundays from 3-6 p.m.

"The reason why I did this is so I can appreciate teachers," says Marion, "because if it wasn't for [my algebra teacher] that reached out to me, I wouldn't even be here today."