Lakewood High School teacher surprised by online donations to ‘creature classroom’

October 12, 2018

Lakewood High School teacher surprised by online donations to ‘creature classroom’

LAKEWOOD, Ohio -- Lakewood High School Intervention Specialist Cory A. Streets was completely caught off-guard earlier this week when a WMMS-FM 100.7 “Rovers Morning Glory” GoFundMe page for his classroom raised more than $3,560 in donations from 151 people.

The online donation campaign came about after cleveland.com posted an article about his MILES (Moving to Independent Learning for Employment and Success) classroom using nine animals and two aquariums full of fish to teach his current class of 25 students life skills.

“We’ve been blown away by the positive response from the community,” Streets said. “We’re so grateful to everyone who donated their own hard-earned money to help support our cause. I didn’t expect this kind of outpouring. 

“The students were excited to make the news, and their jaws dropped when they heard they were on the radio. We can’t overstate our gratitude to our district, cleveland.com and ‘Rover’s Morning Glory.’ I love my job already, but it’s things like this that make me truly appreciate the dedicated and compassionate community in which we live,” Streets said.

The public was moved by Streets’ uniquely original CREATURES (Cultivate Responsibility and Empathy Through Unique, Real and Engaging Studies) program involving two ball pythons, a bearded dragon, a leopard gecko, a gargoyle gecko and a pair of breeding rats.

It turned out that WMMS-FM 1007 morning show “Rover’s Morning Glory” personality Jeffrey Larocque has two of his kids in the class.

“I was very surprised and grateful for our audience response,” said Larocque, who noted that his kids like looking at and interacting with the animals.

After Rover (real name Shane French) talked about the class on the show, he took the extra step to create a GoFundMe page for Streets.

“The teacher seemed like he was really going the extra mile to inspire these kids,” Rover said. “Since the guy was spending his own money, I was going to donate something. I figured if I would do it, maybe we can get some other people, as well.”

As far as raising more than $3,560 in two days, Rover didn’t expect that kind of response. Especially since he didn’t really promote it on the show.

“I posted it and saw people were inspired to give a little bit of money,” Rover said. “Those are our fans. When they get behind something, they’re in it. Also, we don’t make it a habit. To be honest, every time something bad happens to someone it’s always GoFundMe.

“Frankly, I get sick of it, but this seemed like a good cause. And they weren’t asking for anything. This teacher had spent his own money out of his own pocket. We all know how much money teachers are making.”

As far as how the donations will be used to support the classroom, Streets said students are excited about expanding the creature collection.

“I told them that we could splurge on one new animal for our classroom, but that the rest will go toward supplies, materials and food,” Streets said. “We talked about budgeting and how we can make these donations last to support CREATURES in the classroom for at least a few more years.”  

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