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'This means everything to me': Kids surprise teacher fighting cancer with 'Kindness Sting'

Dozens of children surprised one of their favorite teachers, Ms. Laurie Burpee, by singing Christmas carols to her before she got other surprises from volunteers.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — On Monday evening, dozens of children, parents and teachers gathered on the front lawn of one of their favorite teachers, Ms. Laurie Burpee. They sang Christmas carols to Burpee, a second grade teacher at York Elementary School in Vancouver. Burpee is on leave this year while fighting breast cancer.

“I'm home and I miss it so much,” said Burpee, 60. “I miss the kids and this means everything to me.”

Burpee’s students felt the same way.

“She's family to me and I love her,” said 9-year-old Alysha Scala. “I miss seeing her in the halls cause I don't get to have a hug.”


York Elementary School Principal Dawn Harris wanted to do something more for the York, who's known for her random acts of kindness, even on her birthday.

“She doesn't ask for presents, she asks for random acts of kindness,” said Harris. “That's why I reached out to Kindness 911 to give back to her what she's given us.”

Middle school teacher, Jason Hattrick started Kindness 911, a nonprofit that helps law enforcement recognize people who've made an impact on their community.

“When you have a positive experience with law enforcement, it changes everything, long term,” said Hattrick, who showed up along with several Clark County Sheriff’s deputies and the sheriff himself. Together, they issued Burpee a Kindness Citation.  

“This is what pumps us up,” said Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins. This is what helps us go out and just keep doing what we're doing.”

Hattrick presented Burpee with concert tickets courtesy of Ilani Casino and and baseball tickets to her favorite team, courtesy of the Seattle Mariners.  

“You get to be on the field for batting practice and get your picture taken on home plate!” said Hattrick.

Students loved seeing Burpee’s reaction to everything.

“It felt nice and kind and good,” said 9-year-old Blake Watson.

It's what Ms. Burpee is always teaching them, and anyone who'll listen.

“Take care of each other,” said Burpee. “You can teach content, but it's the connections that you make with people that really matter.”

If you know someone who deserves a Kindness Citation, you can nominate them here.