Today ended our first week back to school. My Journalism 1 classes did some brief meditation. A few students sat around my desk and were discussing the events of 2/14. I couldn’t believe the things they saw, and the experiences they had. I got very upset and angry. They’re children. NO child should ever have to go through something like this. One student broke down in tears, saying that her teacher saved her life. I just sat there and shook my head in disbelief.
We had a special guest & HUGE surprise in my yearbook class. Mayor Philip Levine came to see us. He’s the former Mayor of Miami Beach, and is currently running for governor in Florida. Two of my editors and I met with him about a week ago. He was so moved by what we said, that he wanted to help. He came in with a donor who would like to remain anonymous; I invited the principal and my assistant principal to be with us for the announcement. The donor gave us $105,000 to use to finish our yearbook. The money will be put toward the costs of adding pages, ordering additional books, etc. We will now be able to do our job without worrying about whether we sell another book or not for the remainder of the year. To quote Jake Palenske (@jakepalenske), these are “student journalists who are doing critical work under difficult circumstances.” My students were shocked, just as I was when I received the news. We went outside to take a group picture.
After dinner, I saw a tweet about a story I did an interview for with CNN Money. It’s about the GoFundMe that was set up for the MSD Journalism Program by a yearbook adviser in Texas. At the time the story ran, it had reached a little over $15,000 of the $30,000 goal. Before I went to bed, it was up to $24,390. The adviser did this out of the goodness of her heart. She wanted to do something to help us. I continue to be awestruck and overwhelmed over the outpouring of support and generosity shown from complete strangers across the country, as well as around the world.