A Christmas Miracle? Pretty close to it.

Posted: December 14, 2015 in Classroom, Education, Great Ideas, Inspiration, Life, Things I Love
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1Hard to believe this happened 4-years ago . . .

The best Christmas present I ever received came to me this week, and it was completely unexpected. Actually, it all started a couple weeks ago when, for some reason, some of my students thought it would be a good idea for me to have a bullhorn. OK, I may have mentioned I always wanted one, and the kids began imagining the havoc I could cause with such a device in the classroom and school in general.

By the way, if you’re reading this with a quizzical look on your face you never had me as a teacher. If you did you’re nodding your head approvingly.

Anyway, one of the kids put a couple bucks in a jar and proclaimed it was the “Mr. Shoe Bullhorn Fund”. At one point we even checked them out on the internet and found the Thunder Power 1200, a big-time player in the bullhorn game if there ever was one. This baby was designed for “the military and large crowd control” and could be heard 2,000 yards away. Bingo.

Well, even I understood the ethical questions raised by having my students collect money to buy me a device of such ear-shattering destruction, so I proposed an idea. Let’s keep collecting money, and if the students could come up with $100.00 we’d give it to a needy family and I’d buy the bullhorn out of pocket.

We’d talked several times over the year about making good decisions and doing the right thing, and all things considered this was the right thing to do. We also talk regularly about how one good deed leads to another, karma, and how giving beats receiving any day of the week. Now, having said that, talk is cheap and and although I think the students agreed in principle an up-close and personal example sure wouldn’t hurt.

So to reiterate, forget the bullhorn, I’ll take care of that, let’s just raise some money for someone who needs it.

The kids were in.

And so it was agreed upon, and slowly but surely the money started coming. And coming. And coming. It came from piggy banks, change drawers, car ashtrays, maybe even mom’s purse, who knows. One student, Hammer, even brought in his giant baby bottle bank in which to store the loot.

After a week the kids were hounding me to do a count, so we poured it onto a table and added it up. I was pretty sure we were close to our $100.00 goal but I wasn’t sure.

Shows what I know. We had almost $200.00! I was stunned. We’d doubled our goal amount! I was so proud I took a picture of the money and posted it on Facebook, mainly to show what great kids I had in class.

What happened next took things to another level. Soon, under my photo appeared a message from former student and old friend Mike Miller, who told me he was impressed with my students and that he’d match what the kids raised! Later that day, when another PV alumni, Larry McGuire, told me he’d kick in $200 I sensed something special was happening. When the kids learned that somebody was going to match what they raised a light went on in their heads and it was ON.

Somehow, someway, the kids kept bringing in money. As word got out into the community others began contributing, mostly from former students but some from people simply touched by what our 5th graders were doing and wanted to help them. We had donations from the community ranging from $10 to $325, and my students ended up bringing in $625.00 all on their own!

Then, out of nowhere, a donation of $500.00 from 5th grade parent Brett Purdum of Purdum Logging. One kid told me he was “flabbergasted.”

So was I.

So, our total as of 3:00 PM on Friday, December 20th? Over $2,000.00.

I took the cash and coins to the bank and switched them out for larger bills, and after a quick trip to Walmart I had gift cards to give to the families in need of a helping hand. All I can say is, I wish every one of my students could have experienced what I did upon handing over those cards. I explained what my kids had done before springing the surprise. At that point there were a lot of gasps, jaw’s dropping, screams, tears, and even one mother who fell to her knees, prayed, and thanked God for the Paint Valley 5th Grade.

I’m not sure if I’ve ever felt better, but I know I’ve never been prouder of a group of students.

I told them that, 10-years from now, they won’t remember what they received for Christmas when they were in 5th Grade. But they will never, ever, forget the good they did for some families that needed a little help that Christmas.

And here’s the best part – my students are completely aware that all of this happened because of them. They learned that by doing something good and right can lead to other, even better things, and that giving is better than receiving.

And you know what? You can’t put a price on that.

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  1. […] A Christmas miracle? Pretty close to it. […]

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