How a group of third-graders wowed Stephen Colbert with a musical surprise

Stephen Colbert is a busy man.

He's an honorary doctor and pistachio pitchman, and he knows his way around a Christmas carol. Not to mention that whole "taking over a late-night dynasty" thing, which is already off to a great start.


Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images.

But despite his schedule, Colbert is never too busy to support and encourage students.

Whether it's as a commencement speaker or talking with kids in the classroom, Stephen Colbert is an enthusiastic supporter of all things education, as you'll see in this charming video from DonorsChoose.

Colbert is a big-time supporter of DonorsChoose, an online charity that helps teachers purchase supplies for their classrooms. Public school teachers can make requests (anything from a new reading rug to a microscope) and anyone can donate to the project. Donors receive photos of the new supplies in use and letters of appreciation from the students.

Colbert celebrates after receiving his honorary doctorate from Wake Forest University. Photo by Jeffrey A. Camarati/Getty Images.

In 2013, unbeknownst to the general public, Colbert broke character and visited P.S. 33, an elementary school in New York City.

There, he gave a brief lesson on satire to an eager group of third-graders.

Before he left, the students serenaded Colbert with a musical rendition of the preamble to the Constitution.

The late-night funnyman beamed with pride, then joined in himself.

It's endearing. It's patriotic. And lucky for us, someone recorded it. The just-released video is proof that Stephen Colbert is every bit as awesome as you hoped.

But his generosity doesn't end there. Colbert donates his money, time, and star power to help out public school teachers, too.

Considering educators spend an average of $513 of their own money on supplies for their classroom each year, every little bit helps. But when it comes to Stephen Colbert and education, little is not in his vocabulary.

Shouldn't these students have more than one book? Stephen Colbert thinks so. Photo by iStock.

When Colbert ran for president in 2007, his supporters helped him raise $66,000 for classrooms in his home state of South Carolina. He encouraged Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton supporters to pony up for their candidate, and they did. Over 2,600 donors contributed more than $190,000, funding projects for 42,000 students!

"It's incredibly personal, the relationship."

Since then, he's raised money for children with parents in the military and contributed funds from his super PAC to teachers and classrooms devastated by Hurricane Sandy.

And in a surprise move this spring, he picked up the tab on every single open project on DonorsChoose in South Carolina. It was an $800,000 endeavor, which Colbert paid for with the sale of his "Colbert Report" set and a little help from some generous donors.

Colbert meets fans and supporters at a rally in Charleston, South Carolina, as part of his pseudo-presidential run in 2012. Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images.

Colbert knows it's all about the kids.

He now sits on the board for DonorsChoose, and in a recent interview on "CBS Sunday Morning," he shared why the organization means so much to him.

"The joy of giving is also matched with something really rare, which is precision. It's like passion and precision at the same time. It's incredibly personal, the relationship. And incredibly moving when you get the thanks back from the kids."

As Colbert shifts from a late-night character to a bona fide host, I hope he hangs on to the charm, enthusiasm, and generosity that make him such a joy to watch. I have no doubt he will.

For now, brush up on your American history and enjoy this delightful number from the students at P.S. 33 and American hero Stephen Colbert.

Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

History books are filled with photos of people we know primarily from their life stories or own writings. To picture them in real life, we must rely on sparse or grainy black-and-white photos and our own imaginations.

Now, thanks to some tech geeks with a dream, we can get a bit closer to seeing what iconic historical figures looked like in real life.

Most of us know Frederick Douglass as the famous abolitionist—a formerly enslaved Black American who wrote extensively about his experiences—but we may not know that he was also the most photographed American in the 19th century. In fact, we have more portraits of Frederick Douglass than we do of Abraham Lincoln.

This plethora of photos was on purpose. Douglass felt that photographs—as opposed to caricatures that were so often drawn of Black people—captured "the essential humanity of its subjects" and might help change how white people saw Black people.

In other words, he used photos to humanize himself and other Black people in white people's eyes.

Imagine what he'd think of the animating technology utilized on myheritage.com that allows us to see what he might have looked like in motion. La Marr Jurelle Bruce, a Black Studies professor at the University of Maryland, shared videos he created using photos of Douglass and the My Heritage Deep Nostalgia technology on Twitter.

Keep Reading Show less
Courtesy of Creative Commons
True

After years of service as a military nurse in the naval Marine Corps, Los Angeles, California-resident Rhonda Jackson became one of the 37,000 retired veterans in the U.S. who are currently experiencing homelessness — roughly eight percent of the entire homeless population.

"I was living in a one-bedroom apartment with no heat for two years," Jackson said. "The Department of Veterans Affairs was doing everything they could to help but I was not in a good situation."

One day in 2019, Jackson felt a sudden sense of hope for a better living arrangement when she caught wind of the ongoing construction of Veteran's Village in Carson, California — a 51-unit affordable housing development with one, two and three-bedroom apartments and supportive services to residents through a partnership with U.S.VETS.

Her feelings of hope quickly blossomed into a vision for her future when she learned that Veteran's Village was taking applications for residents to move in later that year after construction was complete.

"I was entered into a lottery and I just said to myself, 'Okay, this is going to work out,'" Jackson said. "The next thing I knew, I had won the lottery — in more ways than one."

Keep Reading Show less

'Love is a battlefield' indeed. They say you have to kiss ~~at least~~ a few frogs to find your prince and it's inevitable that in seeking long-term romantic satisfaction, slip ups will happen. Whether it's a lack of compatibility, unfortunate circumstances, or straight up bad taste in the desired sex, your first shot at monogamous bliss might not succeed. And that's okay! Those experiences enrich our lives and strengthen our resolve to find love. That's what I tell myself when trying to rationalize my three-month stint with the bassist of a terrible noise rock band.


One woman's viral tweet about a tacky mug wall encouraged people to share stories about second loves. Okay, first things first: Ana Stanowick's mom has a new boyfriend who's basically perfect. All the evidence you need is in the photograph:

Keep Reading Show less
via Saturday Night Live / YouTube

Through 46 seasons, "Saturday Night Live" has had its ups and downs. There were the golden years of '75 to '80 and, of course, the early '90s when everyone in the cast seemed to eventually become a superstar.

Then there were the disastrous '81 and '85 seasons where the show completely lost its identity and was on the brink of cancellation.

Keep Reading Show less