A teacher from the Boston metropolitan area was awarded a $150,000 cash prize for an essay she wrote about her school and her students. When she found out, she says she immediately knew what she had to do with the money, and donated it to the school.
In an incredible act of kindness and good-will, Nicole Bollerman, 26, made the lives of the children at a mid-sized elementary school in a struggling community a little bit better.
The contest was a social media campaign by Capital One called #wishforothers. Bollerman entered a short essay about the students at UP Academy Dorchester:
I’m a third-grade teacher in a low-income, high-risk elementary school in Boston, MA. My #wish for others is that my voracious, adorable, hard-working, loving scholars all leave for their December break with a book in their hand.
Her wish was granted. Capital One sent books for all her students along with the added surprise that she had won one of the $150,00 grand prizes.
“It wasn’t really a choice,” said Bollerman, adding that she wanted to help her pupils do better.
The money could really better their lives and that’s where I want it to go.
While the school hasn’t decided exactly what to do with the money, Bollerman has said that she’d like to see more computers in the classrooms and possibly a greenhouse on the roof.
Bollerman was hired as part of a program in Massachusetts that turned four schools in the state into charter schools under the direction of UP Academy, a private firm. UP has destroyed the stereotype of privatization, making their mission about the children and not the bottom line. Since taking over, standardized testing scores have skyrocketed at the once-failing school, and parents, teachers and students are elated with the results.
Up has obviously brought an additional touch of caring in Bollerman, one that her students aren’t likely to forget anytime soon.