WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Today, a teacher in West Springfield was spotlighted for her dedication to two schools in western Mass.
You may have seen her this morning on Good Morning America after she was featured on their "Tell T.J." segment with T.J. Holmes.
Jami Witherell is a fifth grade English Language teacher at the Philip G. Coburn School in West Springfield, and Friday morning, her class got a big surprise when a special visitor came through the door.
"Hi Jami. I'm T.J. with Good Morning America," stated T.J. Holmes.
The team at Good Morning America pulled off a huge surprise for her, all because of her work with DonorsChoose.org, an organization that helps teachers raise money for needed projects in their classrooms.
"DonorsChoose.org is an organization that allows our students, our families, our communities to feel limitless, and, in education, it's so challenging to make sure students have everything they need and DonorsChoose takes all that away, and allows us to be the best teachers we can be and the best students we can be," Witherell tells us.
Because of her work with DonorsChoose, the organization wanted to give back to her.
"That is $15,000 that is going to be donated to your school here at Coburn," the GMA team explained.
This is Ms. Witherell's first year teaching in West Side.
Before that, she taught second grade at the Newton School in Greenfield for six years, but after her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, she decided she needed to be closer to her.
"I wanted to be able to take her to her apps and help her out," said Witherell.
Knowing the sacrifice she made, DonorsChoose made sure her family in Greenfield were not forgotten.
"But I've got one more thing on that bus. Your old school as well is getting $15,000!" exclaimed the GMA team.
"That's $30,000! That's going to help a lot of teachers, who have big dreams for their students the same way I have for you," says Witherell.
Those twenty-five Chrome books serve twelve classrooms, and what Ms. Witherell's hope is that, with the money, they will be able to buy more computers for more classrooms.
"Definitely a class set of Chrome books is in the works for class 11," said Witherell.
And although the surprise was overwhelming, she says it reconfirmed her love for teaching.
"The best part of teaching is to love students, and today, I got all that love back and ten fold, so it was really a celebration of the best part of teaching," added Witherell.