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Teacher Donates $150,000 Cash Prize to Her School

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A Boston-area teacher has donated a $150,000 cash prize to the charter school where she works. Nikki Bollerman entered an online contest that asked what people wished for others during the holiday season. Using the Capital One sponsored contest's hashtag #WishForOthers, Bollerman said that she wanted her "vivacious, loving third-grade scholars" to all be able to take home a book of their own over December break.

A school with a high percentage of at-risk students, UP Academy Dorchester has raised its math and English scores the highest in Massachusetts's history in the one year since it transitioned to a charter school, according to a NPR report

Bollerman's entry won three books for her pupils, and she filmed herself handing them out. Capital One then informed her that she had won the $150,000 grand prize, too.

Instead of pocketing the windfall, Bollerman decided to give it back to the school where it will be used for  more books and resources for the school.

This is the kind of holiday story that really outlines the meaning of the season. Teachers are often portrayed as greedy, or even lazy, but stories like these show that many really do have the well-being of their students at heart. Having books at home is something that many middle- and high-class families take for granted but in many cases, children from high-poverty areas do not have even one book to call their own -- making at-home reading endeavors impossible. Teachers like Bollerman recognize this and look for ways to remedy it. I'm happy that she was able to make this simple Christmas wish come true for her students and that the $150,000 prize will also benefit these students.

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The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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