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Principal and Students of a high school in Newark, New Jersey, were shocked when Oprah Winfery paid a visit to the school,and announced she was giving out a whooping sum of $500,000 to support the laudable project of the school principal which she described as “Moving in the right direction”.
The philanthropist said she was stirred to visit the school and to donate after she watched a CBS NEWS report about the Principal of West Side High School Akbar Cook’s initiatives to help curb bullying and keeping students safe especially at night.
“I saw what your great principal is doing,” Winfrey told students and staff packed into the school’s gymnasium. “And I thought, what can I do?”
“So I’m going to leave here tonight and leave you with a half a million dollars,”An announcement which prompted both staff and students to erupt in rounds of applause and jubilation.
According to a report by CBS’s Jeff Glor,the school Principal’s meritorious initiative “Lights On” program aims at keeping the school open for students between 6 p.m. through at least 11 p.m. on Fridays during the school year and three nights a week during the summer.
Because of the Initiative,students night crawlings has been totally eliminated, instead of hanging on the streets during those nights students are able to use the gym, dance, play board games and more. including been provided with free meals donated by local charities.
The Principal took it further to also equip the school with washing machines for students use after hearing reports about some students being bullied for wearing dirty clothes.
Speaking to CBS on the program,The principal said:
“This is selfless work that we do,” “No one goes into education thinking they are going to get rich. … I have a gold medal around my heart from the love that the kids give back to me.”
Winfrey was elated over the efforts made by the Principal and his commitment to his community and Commended the West Side Students for their support and “moving in the right direction.”
She also prayed for the Initiatives to be sustained, according to her
The Lights On program shows “other people how to do it right by providing an opportunity and a place for you to be,” she said. “I want this program to continue.”
She further revealed that her donation was to “to encourage you to keep doing what you’re doing.”
The media mogul also gifted each student a $50 gift card for the grocery store chain ShopRite.
Responding, the school Principal appreciated the gestures saying
“My kids feel like they don’t have anyone,” “And you just took time out of your busy schedule to show me and my babies love. I’m floored. I’m truly humbled.”