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10. Liyjon DeSilva was bounced around from relative to relative after his mom died when he was 5. He finally ended up homeless in Houston, Texas, and sleeping on park benches. But even that didn’t stop him from going to school every single day. His school’s staff had no idea he was homeless… and this was for years into high school. But when high school principal Jonathan Trinh found out, he was shocked. Then he used his own money to put the young man up at a hotel while someone else was looking for a home where he could stay. DeSilva then went on to graduate in the top 5 percent of his class and won a full scholarship to Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.
9. Susan Jordan was the principal of Beverland Elementary School in Indianapolis for 22 years. Just over a year ago, she was waiting with students to be picked up by their bus at the school when all of a sudden, the bus lurched forward. Susan pushed several students out of the way and was hit by the bus. Two students were treated for non-threatening injuries. Susan, however, was killed. She was hailed as a hero by the school, the community and the entire state for giving her own life to save the lives of children.
8. Bullies can be awful rough in school. A sixth-grader in Iowa was made fun of by some bullies after he shaved his head in support of his grandfather, who had just been dianosed with cáncer. But when Pekin Middle School principal Tim Hadley found out, he wanted to teach all a life lesson. So he called a special assembly, gave a passionate speech about those dealing with cáncer, then allowed the young boy who was bullied to cut off his hair. Since then, some of the bullies have apologized to the boy and many other students shaved their heads.
7. In Conway, Arkansas, assistant principal Gary Logan greets Woodrow Elementary students with singing and dancing every single morning. And that’s EVERY day. He does this to brighten the start of their days… and it certainly works. Many of the kids join in on the fun and it makes going to school all that much better.
6. When Andrew Bott went to Orchard Gardens school in Massachusetts, he was facing a tall order. The school was in extreme despair with violence and chaos. In 2010, it was at the bottom in Rank of state schools. Security guards were hired. But Bott got rid of the security and reopened the forgotten orchestra and dance studio and turned that horrible school into something amazing. Brightly colored art started to decorate the school, motivational posters were hung and students’ attitudes began to change. The school now has one of the fastest improvment rates in the state. And no one is scared anymore.
5. In Port Barre, Louisiana, Principal Gabe Sonnier began his career at the elementary school there 30 years ago… in a mop closet. Back then, in 1985, when he wasn’t cleaning, he was studying in the classrooms. Then, he got his teaching degree. Then he got his Master’s of Science and Education. About the students, Sonnier says: “I always tell them it’s not where you start, it’s how you finish.” He now has his sights set on becoming superintendent.
4. Alexander Sharp, a retired lecturer, died in 2009 at the age of 90. He was a former vice principal in Falkirk and left huge amounts of money to 12 charities, including Shelter Scotland, Save Scotland, Save the Children and the British Red Cross. He and his wife, who died in 2006, had no children.
3. In San Francisco, assistant principal Christine Buell just happened to be checking out Facebook when she spotted a page posted by a former student. Kevin Sanders was desperately in need of a kidney, since he was diagnosed with end-stage renal disease. And the page pleaded for people to check to see if they were a match. Christine did and she was. Kevin is now alive today because of the extreme generosity of his former assistant principal.
2. When a New York student was asked who influenced him most in his life and how, he responded that is was Ms. Lopez, his principal. He went on to say: “When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”
1. In Wilmette, Illinois, second-grader John Graziano, who was adopted, was diagnosed with HIV, which he had contracted from his biological mom. John’s pediatritrician then wanted nothing more to do with John or the Graziano family. But when John’s dad, Tom, told school principal Paul Nilson about it, he did everything in his power to keep John comfortable in the school. At first, though, he would spray John’s desk with alcohol just to be on the safe side. Then he realized that that was ridiculous; and that the school was going to treat him the exact same way as other students. Nilson even told other students in the classroom that if anyone asked who in the class has AIDS, each of them would reply “I have AIDS.” John loved school. But just three years later – a few days shy of his birthday — John died from complications related to AIDS. At his funeral, held on his 10th birthday, John’s dad and John’s principal sang Happy Birthday to him.
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