The students at Tomball Junior High in Texas helped their teacher, Michelle Wistrand, who learned she has about two years to live, with a bucket list trip to California.
The children created a Gofundme page and held other fundraising events around the town, raising more than $3500 in one day and $11,000 in total.
‘$11,000! Who does that for a teacher?’Wistrand told KHOU.
‘The fact that 8th grade students would look beyond themselves… these kids are awesome.’
In 2015, doctors told Wistrand she had a tumor in her back and was suffering from Leiomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue. The teacher went through chemotherapy, missing a lot of her classes, but still making it a point to return once she had finished treatment.
In February, her doctors told her the cancer had now spread to her lungs and other parts of her body and she had between two and five years to live.
She broke the news to her students, including those in her English Arts class.
Upon realizing the topic had made them gloomy, she changed the subject and began talking of her bucket list instead.
‘My goal is to end up in the redwoods and hug a tree,’said Wistrand.
‘That’s what I want to do. I want to stand below a redwood and just think about how amazing things are.
‘ It just kind of puts it all in perspective: how little we are in comparison to the great works that God has created.’
Little did she know that four of her students, Mickey Nolen, Alana Lee, Amanda Skivington and Colton Richard, began planning to make her wish come true. After class, they huddled together to discuss how they could raise $7500 to help their teacher.
People bought their t-shirts, labelled ‘Together We Can Wistrand Anything’ and others gave through the Gofundme page they had created.
For the kids, their teacher’s reaction was priceless.
‘She started crying right then and we’re like, “Wow, this is something greater than us,’” Nolen told KHOU. ‘It feels really good.’
Wistrand will retire in June, at the end of the academic year, and plans to travel to California, the Midwest and Florida, KHOU reported.