The students gathered together for an important message on citizenship and the significant roles they play in keeping Larkspur Middle a safe and welcoming school campus.
At least that is what sixth-grade teacher Jackie Wilson thought they were there for.
In reality, the auditorium’s 100-plus students and teachers had convened for a special and heartwarming Valentine’s Day surprise.
Wilson has spent the better part of the school year battling breast cancer and will be on leave the rest of the year for more surgeries and radiation treatments.
One of her students, Brycen Dildy, wanted to do something special for her, to remind her that she had a school full of people rooting for her in her cancer fight. He reached out to classmates and asked that they help make special cards to share with Wilson.
“These cards are for you. I wanted to collect 365 cards just for you so that each card will make your day a brighter day,” Dildy told Wilson. “So, when you read each card, it’ll make you feel happy, feel good, have faith and have courage to fight.”
However, Dildy did not just meet his goal; he exceeded it.
“And, I’m still not finished,” he said as the auditorium cheered. “I collected more than 365; I collected 551 cards so this should last you a year and half.”
Two large boxes decorated with messages such as, “Hope,” “Strength,” and “Survivor,” held the hundreds of cards from students.
“I didn’t just do this by myself,” Dildy said, calling up Wilson’s fellow core teachers and classmates. “The students on our team made these cards, Ms. Wilson, just for you.”
“This is a project that Brycen took upon himself to propose to all his teachers and to the administration,” said Larkspur Principal Carey Manugo. “It was a very courageous, very gallant and valiant effort by Brycen to make sure this happened.”
For Wilson, the touching gift was too much to comprehend.
“There are no words to explain,” she said. “It’s just awesome. It’s just totally awesome that sixth-graders, 11-year-old children, have the kindness, the thought, the warmth, the love to be able to think of that and to make it happen. It’s amazing.”
Smith added she will be keeping the box of cards close by her side throughout her journey ahead.
“It will definitely be in my little pocket beside me, when I feel sad I can pull it out and always have something to motivate me and not lose the positivity that this is a battle I am going to win.”