+
Most Shared

These students surprised their favorite teacher with an incredibly meaningful gift.

Everyone has a story about an educator that shaped their life in an important way.

Think about your favorite teacher in high school. Was is the English instructor who wrote meticulous notes in the margins of your essays? The math teacher who tutored you in geometry every Thursday at lunch? The history teacher who was so passionate about their subject they'd show up to class dressed as important historical figures?

For the students at Valley Christian High School in Arizona, that person was Joe Lara, a Spanish teacher who some students saw not just as an instructor, but a father figure.


"Throughout the year Mr. Lara has been such a great blessing to me," one student wrote on Instagram. "He sees potential in all of his students, and he has seen things in me that I haven’t even seen in myself. He’s believed in me at times when I didn’t believe in myself."

When Lara announced that he was leaving the school, his students knew they had to do something special to thank him for everything he'd done for them.

It's always difficult when a teacher you love leaves. And sometimes, when you think about them years later, you wish you'd done something to show them just how much you cared. Lara's students? They won't have that problem. On his last day (which also happened to be his birthday!) they gave him a surprise he'll never forget. One that's so big even Michael Jordan's brand tweeted about it.

Have you guessed what the surprise was yet? If you thought "A pair of pristine Air Jordans," you're absolutely right! According to his students, Lara has wanted a pair of the shoes for over a decade. But considering how expensive the shoes are (especially in comparison to how much teachers typically make) he could never justify the expense. So everyone chipped in to buy them as a way of saying "thank you." The heartwarming moment was captured on video and has now been viewed millions of times.

Are you ready for this? (Yes, I'm absolutely referencing Jock Jams. Why don't you hit the play button on this baby before you watch the video below. Really, get yourself pumped up!)

It's hard to tell who's happiest here — the teacher who's unwrapping a pair of 2012 retro Jordans, or the students anxiously waiting for Lara's reaction.

"I need scissors," Lara says as he's unwrapping the gift.

"No you don't," students scream back. Then Lara uncovers the box.

"No way," he exclaims shortly before being overcome with emotion. "You didn't!"

You know what, though? They absolutely did. And when he sees those shoes for the first time, the entire room descends into howls, with Lara leading the noise.

And they weren't the only ones feeling it.

This story is sweet, but it's also an important reminder of the value teachers bring.

Our favorite teachers don't just recite from a textbook. They don't just prepare us for tests. They care, they listen, and they project their passion. They mentor, they counsel, and they encourage us to become the adults we want to be. They give us the tools to make our dreams come true. And yet, too often, they're undervalued. In recent weeks, teachers have walked out of their classrooms to protest that they don't have the resources to do their jobs.

As one Oklahoma educator pointed out in a viral Facebook post, teachers don't have enough books, their classes are too large, and sometimes the low pay can force qualified teachers to leave the profession.

Teachers like Lara are rare, but they shouldn't be. And no one will disagree that kids deserve the very best. That's why we must all support educators. Because the difference they make can't be measured or quantified.  And hey, if we get a video like this every day, you won't find me complaining.

All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

Keep ReadingShow less
Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

Keep ReadingShow less
This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Because you're a girl.

This article originally appeared on 04.14.17


I was promoted a few weeks ago, which was great. I got a lot of nice notes from friends, family, customers, partners, and random strangers, which was exciting.

But it wasn't long until a note came in saying, “Everyone knows you got the position because you're a girl." In spite of having a great week at a great company with great people whom I love, that still stung, because it's not the first time I've heard it.

Keep ReadingShow less

Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

Keep ReadingShow less

This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

Keep ReadingShow less
Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

Keep ReadingShow less