Coldwell teacher Elizabeth Bañuelos and her fifth-grade students began reading a novel before spring break with hopes to finishing it once classes resumed.
The COVID-19 pandemic got in the way, but Bañuelos was not going to let a pesky virus get in the way of spreading the love of reading among her students.
So she went on a mission. She wrote a grant for $1,000 through DonorsChoose to put together goody bags for her 15 reading students featuring the book “Because of Mr. Terupt” and its two sequels.
Last week Bañauelos hand delivered the books to the students’ home following health guidelines and social distancing.
“It’s a difficult time for them,” she said. “They can’t go out. They miss school. They miss friends. They can’t do what they’re used to do. I could feel about how worried they are. I need to do something for them so that they can feel that they’re loved and cared for and to give them at least a glimpse of hope.”
All of the students received the three novels, a mask, a dry erase laptop kit, mechanical pencils, writing notepad, candy and a kinetic sand kit. She carefully packed up the goodies and delivered them to the doorsteps of her students last week – wearing a mask and keeping in mind social distancing.
“It makes my heart feel good,” said Samantha Tarango, smiling as she took out each one of the goodies in the bag. Her mom had captured her excitement on her phone.
The sand caught her eye most, already opening the box to play with her sister, but she promises to finish reading Mr. Terupt and other two books this summer.
“I want to say, ‘thank you very much,’” Samantha said. “I wish this never happened, so we can be together more.”
Bañuelos also received a nice note from another parent, whose daughter was equally touched by her thoughtfulness.
The parent said her daughter “was surprised and she loved her gift. She sat there and got a little emotional because she misses her school, her friends, teachers and just the interactions. Thank you for your kind words.”