Ellen Meets Teachers, Surprises Students at Deserving Texas School


I love when my viewers
send me videos. And I really loved
the ones I receive from an elementary school
near Dallas, Texas. They make music videos
with their students, and have been trying to get
my attention all year long. Take a look. [MUSIC PLAYING] Shoot for the AP classes, so
I can rise above the masses. Take that ACT. Be the best I can be. Before I go, listen close. I’m repping Como. For the win. These girls are the future. It’s a sight to see. Like Michelle in ’08 with
Barack and Joe B. A true family. We stand high above the trees. We used to be ashamed. Now we’re first in the game. Those– [CHEERING] [APPLAUSE] Those were the students and
staff from the Leadership Academy at Como Elementary. The school’s principal,
counselor, and math teacher are in my audience today. So Valencia, Tomeka, and
Thomas– come on down. [APPLAUSE] [MUSIC PLAYING] [CHEERING] Hi. [APPLAUSE] Pass that down, please. Hello. Hi. Wow. So, I’m assuming you’re Thomas. And you are? I’m Valencia. Valencia and Tomeka. Tomeka. OK– Yes. –great. So, you’re the math teacher. Yes. Oh, my god. Yes, Ellen. Yes. All right. [LAUGHTER] But you’re the one who’s
responsible for making these music videos. Tell me why you
started doing that. Basically, the school in which
we teach in Fort Worth, Texas, has low socioeconomic
neighborhoods. Our kids are coming
from different areas. A lot of them have
single-parent homes. And I wanted to relate with
our kids through music. And I’ve been trying to
do this for 12 years. It’s been a really,
really long time trying to get on
this show to show that our kids are
doing what they need to do to be better individuals. I really appreciate it. [APPLAUSE] So, you started– I mean, you
can see that they’re learning and they’re engaged. And I understand it’s made
a lot of progress, right? Absolutely. I’ve been at Como
for four years now. And when I first was appointed
principal at Como Elementary, we were one of the lowest
performing elementary schools in the district. And I made a vow
to our community that, within three years, we
would turn that campus around. And I’m happy to say that
last year we moved from an F to a B campus,
and we’re knocking on the door of an A campus. [APPLAUSE] Yes. Yes. Yes. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. All right. And Tomeka, you’re
the counselor. Yes, ma’am. And they are your
children, right? Yes. They are. My sons. My daughters. I call all of them my
sons, my daughters. There is absolutely nothing
I wouldn’t do for them, because they are me. They are exactly how
I was growing up– just a different side of town. And I just– when
I think about them, and I think about everything
that they go through, my heart just– word’s can’t even describe how
much I love those children. Well, and they– the fact
of how fortunate they are to have teachers and
people in their lives that love them that much. Because that is going to
change everything for them, as you know. It already has. They feel that. They know the investment. And you could have
been somewhere else, but why Como for you? I love working for underdogs. And the perception of kids– minority students, specifically,
in low income areas– a lot of time, the perception
is that those kids can’t do it. They are not going
to perform well. And I believe it is
my calling to work with students that other
people may toss to the side. And I love proving people wrong. Yeah. And, more importantly,
I was one of those kids. I have a very similar
background to many of the students in my building. Farther in and out of prison. A lot of our students just
have dealt with more things than we, as adults,
could ever imagine. And I feel like it is my
calling to work with my babies. Those are our students. And we have a thing at our
school where we say, if not us, then who? If we’re not working
with them, then who else is going to do it? Well, they know that
you love them that much, and they are very grateful. And they wanted to
say something to you. Aw. My favorite thing
about my teachers is that they are
loving and caring. They make me feel
amazing about myself, and make me feel like I can
accomplish anything in life. I know I got somebody out
there loving me for who I am. They show me support and they
encourage me to do better. They make me feel like
my second mom and dad. Principal Rhines makes me
feel happy because usually you starts her day with a smile. She makes me feel special. And even when I’m doing
a little bit too much, she’s always– she’s
still there for me. She’s almost like
my best friend. Mr. Mayfield makes me
feel grateful to have him, because he doesn’t
just talk about math, he also talks about life. And that’s what’s going
to make me feel prepared. Mr. Mayfield makes
me feel like I can do anything if I set my
mind to it and work for it. Ms. McGee makes me
feel very welcome. Ms. McGee makes me feel
like I’m her daughter. What I want to say my teachers
is that I love you guys. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you good dealing
with my shenanigans and my over-thinking. [LAUGHTER] Because of my
teachers, I believe I can graduate from Harvard and
become a NASA rocket scientist. [CHEERING] Because of my teachers, I
believe I can go to college and be a role model for
everybody in the city. Because of our
teachers, I believe I can– and know I
can– succeed in life. [MUSIC PLAYING] [APPLAUSE] They are adorable. We have one more
surprise after this. We’re back with Valencia,
Thomas, Tomeka from the Como Elementary school just
outside of Dallas, Texas. And we know how important
your students are, so we have one more surprise. Jeannie. Are you there? [CHEERING] Ah. Hi, Ms. McGee! Hi, Ms. Rhines! Hi, Mr. Mayfield! Hi, y’all! [LAUGHTER] So, Jeannie– and hi, everybody. Hi, kids. How are you? Say, hi, to Ellen! Hi! [LAUGHTER] All right. What is going on there? Oh, my gosh, Ellen. I have had the best day here. This school– they are the
true definition of a community. These kids are so intelligent. They are so hardworking. And I have two students
here that I want to say something to you, Ellen. So, this is Sage. This is Daniel. Sage, what did you
want to say to Ellen? We love you, Ellen, so much
because you spotlighted amazing teachers here at Como
Elementary, and we love you. Well, I love you, too, Sage. [APPLAUSE] She said she loves you, too. And what about you, Daniel? What did you want
to say to Ellen? Ellen, I just want to say
thank you for having a kind and giving heart. And all of these
students want to grow up to be just like you, one day. [APPLAUSE] Isn’t that awesome, Ellen? [APPLAUSE] Well– [APPLAUSE] Thank you, so much. You have a kind
and loving heart. And I want to grow up
to be just like you. That’s what I want. I think all of you are amazing. And I love how hard you work. And I love that you have these
dreams, because you can do anything you put your mind to. All you have to do is work. And you all are
going to be amazing. I can’t wait to see what
you do with your lives when you grow up. [APPLAUSE] [CHEERING] Yes, they are. All right. So you have a food
pantry, right? Because a lot of times they
don’t have food at home, so you give them food there. We do. It initially started
with teachers, out of their own pocket, just
buying snacks and things for us to send home bags with
students on the weekend. Well, I guarantee you, there are
some people watching right now that are going to donate. So all you have to do
is go to our website, and we’re going to direct
you to them so that– Thank you. –you can help
them out, because– Thank you. –I know that everybody at home
is feeling the same that we’re all feeling in this room. And you know that we’ve
partnered with Cheerios to reward amazing people who
are going above and beyond. And you are definitely
going above and beyond. So Cheerios is going to
donate $20,000 to provide food for your pantry. [CHEERING] Thank you! [APPLAUSE] Thank you. [APPLAUSE] Also, Cheerios has a program
called Box Tops for Education, and your school is getting
an additional $30,000 to purchase laptops
for your students. [CHEERING] [APPLAUSE] So that’s $50,000 from Cheerios. We’ll be right back. Hi, I’m Andy. Ellen asked me to remind you
to subscribe to her channel so you can see more
awesome videos. Like videos of me getting scared
or saying embarrassing things. Like ball peen hammer. And also some videos of
Ellen and other celebrities– if you’re into
that sort of thing. [SCREAMING] [BLEEP] God [BLEEP]!

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