Mariah Denson's sixth-grade English class at Adams Middle School in Grand Prairie on the Friday before Christmas break had nothing to do with books, unless you counted the books that were gifts.
"It makes my stomach a little bubbly. Makes me smile," Denson said. "I just like to see them happy, you know?"
Denson had gifts for all 38 of her in-person students. The effort started with a simple question to her class around Thanksgiving time.
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"I went around the room and asked them what they wanted for Christmas, and a couple of them had said that their parents were moving and they had to pay rent," Denson said. "To think that my kids that I see every single day go without hurts."
So the first-year sixth-grade teacher put a plea on her Facebook page, asking for friends to help make Christmas the 'best ever' for her students.
"I was kinda, like, wow," Denson said of the outpouring of support as friends adopted her students to buy gifts. "But I knew people would step up, you know."
The gifts came from her students' personal wish lists. They included shoes, coats, art supplies, skateboards, bikes, and more. It taught Denson an important lesson.
"I guess if I want to get something done, I can get it done," she said smiling. "I chose them every day. I chose to come here, and I love them with my whole heart."