Winona State University alumna Regan Lonien and her class at Bear Cave Intermediate School in Stewartville, Minn., got a big surprise recently when Carrie Underwood retweeted their video message asking for her support in their fundraising efforts.
It all started this past fall, when Lonien was teaching the class about natural disasters. After reading news coverage about the 2018 Camp Fire in California, the students were inspired to take action and organized a penny war to raise funds for Butte County Schools near Paradise, Calif.
Lonien, who graduated from both WSU-Rochester’s Elementary Education program and Graduate Induction Program, said class members worked together as a team to inform the school community about the impact of the fires, as well as plan, promote and conduct the fundraiser.
“All of the time and effort put in by the students was truly remarkable,” she said. “I watched as they learned about the victims and what they were experiencing. I saw their compassion shine for others. It was an incredible thing to witness!”
After raising nearly $1,400, the students turned to the power of social media and developed a video message asking Carrie Underwood to support their fundraiser. Much to their surprise, Underwood tweeted them back and praised Lonien and her students for their activism.
“My students and I were in awe of what we were able to do! The lessons learned through this activity will carry with them for many years to come,” remarked Lonien. “As their teacher, I am so proud and so humbled by it all.”
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