As the former first lady, Michelle Obama walked inside the computer lab, her jaw dropped. The young girl jumped in excitement as she was unable to believe what she saw.
“Obaaama,” the child exclaimed. “Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh.”
Michelle Obama has toured the elementary of the Randle Highlands. Previously, as part of the NBC holiday special “Ellen’s Greatest Night of Giveaways,” which broadcast the first episode on Tuesday, she also visited the District of Columbia school in October. Prominents give presents to unsuspecting recipients in the three-part series presented by Ellen DeGeneres.
In a new episode video it shows how Michelle surprised the students of Randle Highlands. The school was astonished seeing $100,000 in cash, Apple computers and a new outdoor basketball court. Further, adults dressed as elves delivered an iPad to each student.
Michelle Addresses the Students
“When I look out at all of you, I see a room full of future doctors and teachers and engineers and presidents,” Obama told a packed gymnasium. “And I want to make sure that you have the tools you need right now to help make that happen.”
The students were overwhelmed and got happy tears. Some sang and some danced. Teachers were seen crying in joy. School students come mostly from low-income and black families. Approximately 65 percent are deemed to be at risk, meaning they are in foster care, homeless, or families are eligible for public assistance.
In the episode, the principal, Kristie Edwards, said teachers are using their own money to help students, take grocery shopping for families, and buy supplies for classrooms.
An anonymous Randle Highlands worker said in the segment that the school is doing the best with what it has but told Obama that “unfortunately we don’t have much” when it comes to the computer lab.
Educational Advocates Question Michelle’s Good Deed
While the NBC show gifts were praised by students and teachers, educational advocates and some city leaders questioned why a school system with a budget of more than $1 billion a year needed a donation to allow students to have sufficient technology.
According to city data, this academic year, the 400-student school received $4.3 million-a drop of $300,000 a year earlier despite an increase in education spending across the city.
So, the budget allocates $9,000 for the procurement of education and office. Also, $4,300 allocates for training based on technology. Further, education officials have said the school system has moved some support service costs to its headquarters. Moreover, it accounts for some campuses ‘ budget declines.
“We have a city that is capable of ensuring that schools do not need to rely on donations from anyone,” said Elizabeth Davis, president of the Washington Teachers’ Union.
Thus, in a statement, the school system said that the surprise visit by Obama brought well-deserved attention to a school. Also, added that it has experienced significant academic gains in recent years. Further, D.C. spokesman for education, Shayne Wells, states the donation is complimentary to community funding. Moreover, he said the school system buys technology devices through high school for every third grade boy. Thus, although students will not start to receive them until the next academic year.
Randle Highlands Rejoice Seeing the Gifts
So, Council member Vincent Gray, a Democrat, advocates for more city funds. Also, they give during last academic year to schools like Randle Highlands. Further, it sits in a poor swath of D.C. Also, he said he’s hoping the high-profile donation would bring attention to the money still needed in D.C. schools.
“I hope this will also send a message to those who are preparing budgets for the next cycle that we need to make sure that these kids have the resources that they need,” Gray said.
Further, Cornelius Bailey, president of the Civic Association of Randle Highlands, states he is on cloud nine. Also, In the 1980s, he sent his kids to school and is happy that Obama and DeGeneres have lent their fame to highlight the class.
“For any of the wards where you have median incomes that are not super high like they are in other parts of the city,” Bailey said, “a little help is always useful.”
Thus, for members of staff at Randle Highlands, the gifts contributed to the warmth. Also, they hope their students would feel happy on campus every day.
“If nothing else,” Edwards said, “my legacy will be that they knew they were loved by me.”