Grandma Gives $96,000 in Travel Vouchers to Thank Teachers at Her Old North Carolina Elementary School — Where Her Grandchildren Are Now Students

This article is one in a series at The 74 that profiles the heroes, victories, success stories, and random acts of kindness found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring profiles at The74Million.org/series/inspiring.

What’s the best way to show your appreciation for teachers? Get them the heck out of school for some much-deserved R&R.

That’s exactly what an appreciative grandmother of two kids at Lindley Elementary School in Greensboro, North Carolina, a former Lindley student herself, did for the hardworking educators there — $96,000 worth.

And just in time for summer vacation.

“I’m excited to give it. I wish I had that kind of money to reward our staff, because they work so hard,” Principal Tracy Roof told WFMY News 2.

On May 11, Roof handed out 72 travel vouchers to her surprised and gleeful staff, good for eight days and seven nights’ lodging for themselves and their families across the United States (hello, Hawaii!) as well as Caribbean destinations including the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic.

“It’s a hard job each and every day,” Roof said at the ceremony, which capped five days of festive events at the school during Teacher Appreciation Week.

The theme of the week-long celebration was Teachers Are Out of This World. Events included Chocolate Day, with a focus on Hershey, Pennsylvania, that featured sweets, and Mexican Day. Fittingly, staff members were issued pretend passports, and they talked about places they had traveled.

The generous donor, former student Mary Entwistle, a travel agency owner who now lives in Florida and is the grandma of a Lindley kindergartner and fifth-grader, initially asked to remain anonymous when the vouchers were presented to the staff.

“She didn’t want it to be all about her,” Roof explained to The 74.

But Entwistle’s generosity didn’t end with Lindley’s teachers. All 525 of the school’s students are getting a piece of this action, too.

On Friday evening, at Lindley Elementary’s spring carnival, the proud principal will present the students with three-day travel lodging vouchers of their own, for themselves and three family members, also courtesy of Entwistle.

As for the Lindley teachers and other staff, they are, needless to say, psyched.

First-year fourth-grade teacher Diana Saavedra and her new husband, Elisven, are going to Disney World! The newlyweds, married last June, will use the voucher to celebrate their first anniversary.

“We didn’t think we’d be able to go anywhere special,” Saavedra told The 74. “We’re going to visit all the different beaches around the Florida coast there,” along with frolicking at the Orlando resort.

“It just made me feel really good,” Roof told WFMY, describing the gift as “one of those moments you’ll never, ever forget.”

“I’m glad to see that someone else sees the value in teaching,” the principal said.

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