SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WHSM) -- With school out of session, teachers have had to come up with creative ways to keep their students engaged.

While teaching students via Zoom, one local teacher was also helping out his students by providing their families with food and other essential items out of the kindness of his heart.

Western Mass News Rocky’s Ace Surprise Squad is back and got the opportunity to honor this young teacher.

The coronavirus pandemic has caused stress for many families leaving some to wonder how they will be able to feed their children or afford essential items, but a Springfield teacher made it his mission to make sure the students at his school were taken care of.

“Shahein is actually a teacher right over here at Kensington Elementary School,” said the teacher’s cousin Alexia Basile. “He is a phenomenal teacher, and I’m not just being biased. He does so much, not even just for the students, but the parents as well.”

Shahein Kairesh is a third-grade teacher and has been teaching his students on Zoom for the last couple of months since schools were forced to close due to COVID-19 concerns.

He isn’t just sticking to the lesson plan, he’s going above and beyond for his students.

“When this started, he was like, OK, think about kids and how much these kids eat on a daily basis, and know how much they are going to be eating at home,” Basile said. “So he said, ‘I need to do something about this. I can’t let my babies starve,’ as he calls them, everybody is his child. What I’m going to do is we are going to Stop and Shop, go to Big Y, anywhere we can and get the sale items and do whatever I can, and when he came out of his own pocket he realized, ‘This is a lot for me.’”

That’s when Kairesh started the initiative to get other teachers involved to see what they could donate or buy, and so far they have been able to help out about 15 to 20 families.

“He reached out to everybody and everybody was so welcoming and so willing to help,” she said. “He had people dropping off food like 20 times a day. He made so many bags, it was incredible to see, and all these families -- the tears, the letters, and the gifts they’ve sent to him -- it’s just so beautiful. It really is.”

Western Mass News Rocky’s Ace Surprise Squad heard about this incredible teacher and knew we had to surprise him.

“Wow, I’m really surprised right now,” he said. “You just have to keep helping. We are all in a difficult situation. As a teacher here at Kensington International, we can’t think about our families needing things and us not being able to help them. It’s part of our culture at the school to help each other through good things and bad things.”

Kairesh said he always teaches his students they are one big family in and out of the classroom

“I have a joy and passion for teaching, and from day one when school starts, I always teach my kids it’s a home,” he said. “This is our environment. We are a family. We aren’t just here from 8:30 to 3:30, that I help them with things they need inside and outside of school.”

He’s hopeful current and former students will be inspired by his example.

“I always say this one quote to them, I post it every day on our website: ‘The sky is the limit. You can and will make a difference in our world.’ And that’s something instilled from day one to all our students.”

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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