Indiana students surprise classmate with Xbox after tragedy
RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — When Fairview Elementary School fourth-graders Javeonte Johnson and D. J. Allen approached their teacher, Jim Jeffries, with an idea of starting a store, he was impressed with their entrepreneurial spirit.
However, it’s against school policy to sell products in the school that are going to benefit someone else, so his answer was an easy, “absolutely not.”
A few weeks later, principal Kelly Plank made an exception, and “The Josh Squad” came to be.
With the help of Jeffries and their fourth-grade classmates, Johnson and Allen drew and sold pictures, raising more than $300 for Joshua Idle, a fourth-grade classmate who was involved in an accident that took his mother’s life in December.
On Jan. 7, The Josh Squad and their classmates surprised Idle and his younger brother, Ryan, with an Xbox One S, five games and an extra controller.
“I was really excited when two of my students decided to come together for a hurting classmate,” Jeffries said. “We had a student that was involved in a car crash and my students decided to create a little store where they drew pictures and sold them.
″. It was nice the compassion that these students showed toward their classmates and it was really exciting to see that, the love and compassion they showed for each other.”
A few weeks before Idle’s accident, Johnson and Allen were looking to make some money.
They started drawing pictures and asked Jeffries if they could sell them for $1.
“They literally drew pictures and they were going to sell them for a dollar a piece,” Jeffries said. “I told them, ‘You cannot do that,’ they were just wanting to make some money, but that became, they wanted to make some money for Josh.”
A few weeks later, Allen and Johnson heard about Idle’s accident. They asked again if they could start a store. They were also looking to help Idle. With some guidance from principal Kelly Plank, they found a perfect way to do so.
“They came down and they talked about wanting to be entrepreneurs, and I said, ‘That’s great, but the school corporation has a rule against that.’ We can’t sell products in the school that are going to benefit someone else,” Plank said.
The exception to that rule is if the money goes toward fundraisers or donations.
Suddenly, Johnson and Allen’s goal had little to do with money and everything to do with compassion.
“We asked Ms. Plank and she told us about Josh,” Allen said. “So we came back and started raising money for the store. We were going to get a lot of money, we were going to get extra to get controllers and stuff, and games and stuff. We were going to get it to him at the Christmas break.”
Idle’s accident happened on Dec. 7, about two weeks before Christmas break.
Academic learning took a back seat to life lessons.
Some classmates drew the pictures, others colored them and some cut them out. When they said they wanted to buy him an Xbox, Jeffries wasn’t sure how quickly they could raise enough money, but once word spread, requests started coming in. Emojis. Sports teams. Names. Donations started pouring in.
“D. J. and Javeonte, they went together and they were the bosses,” Jeffries said. “Almost every student in class helped out, and they were the workers.
“We didn’t get a whole lot of academic things done during the last week and a half of school, but there was a lot of life learning that was happening instead of academic learning. But the compassion, the love, they really wanted to do this for Josh, it was so neat.”
Joshua remembers little from the accident, but according to police reports, his mother, Charity Lyn Idle, died at the scene when her pickup truck was struck head-on by a car on Richmond Avenue.
Older brother Hunter Lennon, 17, and Ryan Idle, 6, were treated at Reid Health and released to family members, but Joshua, 10, was transported to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis.
He suffered a torn muscle on his hip and a broken jaw.
“I don’t really remember that much from the crash, I just remember we were driving somewhere near the store,” Joshua said.
Jeffries said he visited Idle a few times during Christmas break, but Monday was the first time most of his classmates saw him again.
Ryan, who is in kindergarten, was called into Jeffries’ class, and they were met with a surprise.
And from two young men, Johnson and Allen, there was a lesson in giving and compassion.
“What happened today was that we had two exceptional caring students that were really involved in helping to ease the pain of a fellow student and the kindness and the compassion and the sympathy and empathy that they were showing, which is something you don’t see every day in elementary schools - or school period,” Plank said. “It was really great to see the kids show their compassion, give gifts and work hard to get those gifts for the student.”
Information from: Palladium-Item, http://www.pal-item.com