Some Lowcountry teachers learn a lesson in generosity, after their classroom needs are met by none other than celebrity Stephen Colbert, over a popular crowd-funding site. Each classroom project posted by a South Carolina teacher on the website donorschoose.org was paid in full by Colbert. There were six teachers in Beaufort County who experienced the generous gesture, and one teacher in Jasper County.
“It was really exciting,” says first grade teacher Justin Vaughn. “I’ve never heard of projects being flash-funded the way they were [Thursday], so it was a really cool experience. It’s a great thing that he’s doing for the public schools in the state.”
Vaughn’s first grade Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts class will get two new iPads for reading and photography work, “just integrating as much technology as we can into our lessons.”
Down the hall from Vaughn’s classroom, is another teacher who saw wishes granted.
“I was absolutely amazed,” says literacy coach Karen Cauller. “I just couldn’t believe it. I must have read the email three times. I was so excited about him funding my project.”
Cauller is looking forward to beginning a poetry cafe, staged in the school’s library, that Colbert funded online this week. The donations went to supplies for an area students will hold poetry and reading events, to showcase their work.
“So the idea is really, really accelerating as a creative way for students to share their writing and poetry,” Cauller says.
The teachers hope student learning is benefited by the donation.
“Also, I hope that [students] see the people that are out there and are wanting to support them and the people that are out there and funding these things so that they can make more learning opportunities for these students,” Vaughn says.
The money Colbert donated across South Carolina totals to some $800,000 in all.