Third grade teacher Nikki Bollerman, 26, entered the #WishForOthers contest sponsored by Capital One, never expecting to win the $150,000 grand prize. When she did, there was never even a thought to spend the money on herself.
Instead Bollerman decided to give the money to her school to improve the lives of her students at UP Academy Dorchester, a public charter school in Boston.
Earlier this week, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh honored the teacher, who spoke with ABC News about her decision.
“I really made the wish for my students and I was blessed, lucky and thankful that Capital One gave me the opportunity,” Bollerman said. “Since I made the wish for my students I thought I would do something to make their lives better rather than spend it on myself.”
This was the winning entry written by Nikki Bollerman in the #WishForOthers contest.
“My #wishforothers is that my voracious, adorable, hardworking, loving scholars all leave for their December break with a book in their hand.”
Bollerman hopes to use the money for improved computer access as well as coding lessons, though the school administration hasn’t signed off on specific uses at this time.
As a result of winning the contest, Bollerman also secured three books of her choosing for her students. These included Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, which, she says, her students “just eat up those Wimpy Kid books.”
She also picked a 1948 chapter book that she admits was a “favorite” of hers as a child, My Father’s Dragon.
Last but not least, she selected the classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
In addition to the three books that she won for her kids, she and her mother also decided to spring for one book for each kid in the third grade, even the ones she doesn’t teach.
People who have taught or know individuals who teach probably aren’t too surprised by the act of selflessness. Teachers often use their own money to buy supplies for their students rather than working through the red tape of getting a purchase order approved.
This is, however, the first time I’ve heard of a teacher taking a six-figure payday and spending it all on their students. The only educational act of generosity that comes close to this is when George Lucas gave the full earnings of his Star Wars Disney sale to educational charities.
While that was around $4 billion, George already had plenty of money. As a teacher, Nikki Bollerman probably doesn’t have that kind of money.
What would you have done, readers? Sound off in the comments section.