These teens surprised their professor after she told them the holidays are difficult for her and it'll bring a tear to your eye
Christmas is supposed to be a time of joy and celebration - a day on which we don't have to worry about work or school or any other kind of stress, and can instead just spend the time enjoying the company of our nearest and dearest. Unfortunately, not everybody has the luxury of experiencing that.
For some people, the holidays are a very difficult period. Because of the hustle and bustle of the season, though, these individuals can often get overlooked, and that makes it even worse for them.
But when one class found out about their professor's struggle with the festive season, they made sure she wasn't ignored.
Last week, teenagers at a Texas school surprised their professor with Christmas gifts after finding out that she usually spends the holidays alone. In a video shared to Twitter, the students can be seen welcoming their teacher into the classroom with a pile of beautifully wrapped gifts on her desk - and she immediately gets choked up over the situation.
Professor Wharton, who did not disclose her full name, spoke to Buzzfeed about what her students did for her, and why their gesture meant so much.
"Both of my parents have passed away," she explained. "And my sister, my only sibling, passed away. I don’t have immediate family. I do have some cousins, but we aren’t real close."
The professor said she was touched by the class' gesture, especially as she'd only explained her situation as a "casual comment", and did not expect any of them to pay much attention to it.
Belinda Ramirez, one of Wharton's 16-year-old pupils, said that their professor's words really stood out to her, even if they weren't intended to.
"We all felt really bad for her," the teen said.
And the class' compassion really showed in their actions - particularly once they saw their teacher begin to cry.
"We all just started crying," said Ramirez.
Wharton was obviously shocked to receive such an unexpected and generous gift, but was not at all surprised by the kindness of the kids she teaches.
"Teenagers, many, many teenagers, are so much kinder and more compassionate than their public reputation," Wharton said. "These students did this out of their own generosity and the kindness of their hearts. They know me well enough to know it won’t influence their grades."
Since the video has gone viral, Wharton has apparently been offered donations by strangers, but she politely declined. Instead, she wants to encourage donations to the American Cancer Society, or to have people "reach out to others who are alone, [as] that can have an impact in our world."
"Even if it’s just a ‘hello,’ or ‘Merry Christmas,’ that can mean so much," she said.
So, if you know anyone who could do with some festive cheer right about now, why not reach out to them? As the professor says, it doesn't have to be an elaborate gift; sometimes just knowing that somebody cares is meaningful enough.