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People Are Awesome: Fifth Grader Donates $300 Life Savings to Stop Teacher Layoffs

Elementary school student Jocelyn Lam emptied her piggy bank to save pink slipped teachers. Now she's inspired an entire community to do the same.


Thanks to draconian budget cuts, thousands of layoff notices have been delivered to teacher mailboxes nationwide over the past few weeks. But, after notices went home about pink slips handed out in the Arcadia Unified School District, Jocelyn Lam, a fifth grade student at Camino Grove Elementary decided there was something she could do to save her school's teachers: she emptied her piggy bank.

Last Friday, Lam gave her teacher an envelope full of $1, $5, and $10 bills totaling $300—money she'd earned over several years for doing chores and getting good grades. She also included a handwritten letter addressed to the Arcadia Unified school board and superintendent, saying, "I really hope this $300 will help save the teachers that are about to be laid off. I also hope this is enough to save more than one teacher." Her donation was completely unsolicited and took the school staff by surprise.

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