Lexington, SC (WLTX) -- Thousands of books were gifted to the best teachers in the South Carolina Friday.
It's all thanks to a long-standing partnership that focuses on the importance of education.
"We want to make sure we let our teachers know we appreciate them and let them know everything they're doing in the classroom is affecting our city, our state and the country because the people they're affecting will be our future leaders," said Ken Reynolds, Director of Corporate and Community Affairs for Bojangles.
85 district teachers of the year were honored at Lexington Town Hall Friday with 2,500 books to add to their classroom collections.
Bojangles in partnership with South Carolina Future Minds donates thousands of books every year.
"Through our 10 year partnership, we've donated 25,000 books to the public school system in the state of South Carolina," said Reynolds.
Jeff Maxey, a special education teacher in Anderson District 3, says students' faces light up when new books arrive.
"You should see the smiles on the faces of the students when the teachers come back to the schools and they dive into the boxes to see what new information is there," said Maxey, also named 2019 South Carolina Teacher of the Year.
It's not random books inside these gift boxes. Each is catered to every teacher's classroom.
"My elementary school students, they love getting these books and seeing the pictures," said Maxey. "Whereas high school students are going to receive books pertaining to things they're studying right now...There are days when you're in your classroom and you feel kind of alone because there's just a teacher and all those students. But then we're reminded of how many people in the community love our students and organizations like South Carolina Future Minds and Bojangles by donating these books make us as teachers feel special. In turn, we can let our students know how special they are as well."
Maxey says in a world taken over by technology, one thing is certain: There's nothing like having a real book in your hand.
"Our students love technology in the classroom, but there's an important role for the written text in books," said Maxey. "They can dive in and they can see those pictures. They can run across the room, they can take a book home and read it to their parents, brothers and sisters and bring it back and trade it in for another book. Regular books are never going to go out of style!"