A fifth-grader, understanding better than a lot of adults how important it is to keep teachers in the classroom, took a stand about layoffs at her California elementary school by donating her life savings of $300 in an effort to save teachers’ jobs.

According to the Arcadia Patch newspaper, young Jocelyn Lam, a student at Camino Grove Elementary School in the Arcadia Unified School District, recently brought in an envelope stuffed with the money --all in small bills -- that she had earned from doing chores and earning good grades. It originally was the start of her college fund.

She gave it to her teacher, along with a letter she wrote addressed to the Arcadia Unified school board and the district’s superintendent, that said:

“Hi. My name is Jocelyn Lam. I’ve heard that 65 positions will be laid off and ten of them are from my school! This really breaks my heart. Those teachers had taught me a lot. They guided me to fifth grade. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here right now writing this letter. They changed my life.

“I save all this money I earned from chores and high grades. Now I want to donate all this money to save the teachers. I really hope this $300 will help save the teachers who are about to be laid off. I also hope that this is enough to save more than one teacher. PLEASE put this money to good use. I beg you! SAVE THE TEACHERS!”


Jocelyn Lam

Her donation, which surprised the adults at her school, stirred the community to undertake a fund-raising drive by parents and students, who raised $20,000 so far for the purpose of saving teachers’s jobs.

Jocelyn, who had gotten permission from her mother, a manicurist, and her dad, who works in a bakery to donate the money, told the Arcadia Patch that she is going to keep working to make more money to help keep teachers in the classroom.

You can learn more about this story, and watch a video about this here, at the Arcadia Patch.

If only adults making education policy and budget decisions understood the value of teachers as well as Jocelyn Lam.


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