This article is one in a series at The Seventy Four which profiles the heroes, success stories, unexpected surprises and randoms acts of kindness to be found at schools all across America. Read more of our recent inspiring coverage at The74million.org/series/inspiring.
A Michigan businessman is restoring the funds stolen from a high school cheer squad, and in the process, restoring faith in humanity.
Great Expressions Dental Centers CEO Richard Beckman has donated $9,000 to the Farmington High School cheerleading team after their coach allegedly raided the team’s funds for her personal use, reports WXYZ. A smiling Beckman delivered his oversized check in person on July 20.
“I thought, geeze-o-pete, this can’t possibly be true,” Beckman told FarmingtonVoice.com. “I can’t imagine somebody taking money from kids.”
According to WXYZ, police are now actively investigating whether Farmington High School’s 25-year-old coach – a former coach of the year – used funds raised for the team to pay for personal expenses.
Farmington Public Schools Superintendent George Heitsch joined Beckman in presenting the squad with a check for the donation at the school’s football field Tuesday. The funds will pay for uniforms, equipment and trips, and will also aid students who need financial assistance to help them participate on the cheer squad.
“I was very excited and was actually surprised someone was willing to give us money,” cheerleader Shelby Smith told HometownLife.com. “I was excited there was a good person who decided they needed to help.”
The surrounding community, located northwest of downtown Detroit, is also kicking in support. The squad raised nearly $4,000 from a car wash fundraiser hosted by Colonial Car Wash. And the Greater Farmington Area Chamber donated $1,000.
The squad also set up an online fundraising page, which has raised $1,200 and counting.
“I think this teaches the girls a lot about gratitude, a lot about compassion, a lot about hope, a lot about resilience,” Heitsch told HometownLife.com. “They stepped right up and were solving their own problem. It teaches a lot of great lessons.”
Cheerleader Romyah Myricks told FarmingtonVoice.com the donation is “finally getting something back that we deserve and worked hard for.”Submit a Letter to the Editor