[NEWS/VIDEO] Watch Sheryl's sweet surprise for her hometown high school teachers
By Ree Hines
Today Show Staff
Valentine's Day is less than a week away, but it's never too early to show some love — and "Show Heart."
That's the name of a special series TODAY's Jenna Bush Hager has launched to lead up to the big day, and she had some big help kicking it off Monday morning with singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow.
The nine-time Grammy winner knew just who she wanted to Show Heart to — some unsung heroes from her hometown high school in Kennett, Missouri.
Kennett High School Principal Richie Leeker let his students and faculty believe they were gathering for a routine pep rally, but they soon found out there was a famous member of the class of 1980 in their midst.
The crowd cheered for Crow, but she wanted them to cheer for others.
"I want everybody to give a big round of applause for your teachers," she said. "They spend their own money in making sure you have what you need in the classroom."
So Crow brought the teachers out and made sure they had what they needed, too.
"Your teachers ... spend up to $600, maybe more, a year [in classroom supplies]," she told the kids. "We are going to present some checks to the teachers on behalf of Farmers Insurance and Adopt-A-Classroom. "
Those teachers can use the money for whatever classroom supplies they need.
Taking care of teachers is a cause close to Crow's heart. After all, before she became a musical hit-maker, Crow was teacher, too.
"When I got out of school, I went into teaching," she told Hager. "I loved it, but I had this burning desire to get my music heard."
She never forgot her time teaching or the special teachers who made her believe she could go on and be anything she wanted to be.
"I know these towns are all the way across America, that send kids out believing they can do whatever they want in this giant world," she said. "And I was really that kid."
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Sheryl Crow "Adopts" All Teachers From Her Hometown High School, Donates More Than $20,000
AdoptAClassroom.org and Farmers Insurance Join the Award-Winning Singer to Support Teachers at Kennett High School
MINNEAPOLIS and LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Nine-time Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Sheryl Crow returned to her hometown of Kennett, Missouri, to surprise the teachers at her alma mater, Kennett High School, with a $21,600 donation for classroom supplies.
During an all school assembly that was featured on The TODAY Show's "Show Heart Today" series on Feb. 8, Crow announced that she was "adopting" all of the school's teachers through AdoptAClassroom.org with a $600 donation each. Farmers Insurance® provided the financial backing as part of its Thank America's Teacher℠ program, which has donated more than $2 million to teachers across the country since 2014.
"I know first-hand how much hard work goes into being a teacher, but I also know how big of an impact teachers have on the lives and futures of their students," said Crow, a former teacher in St. Louis, Missouri. "Thanks to AdoptAClassroom.org and the financial support of Farmers Insurance, we were able to make a meaningful difference for the amazing teachers at Kennett High School while also showing viewers of The TODAY Show just how easy it can be to do the same for teachers in their own communities."
Representatives from AdoptAClassroom.org and Farmers Insurance joined Crow and Jenna Bush Hager, a correspondent for The TODAY Show and a former teacher, to present each teacher with an AdoptAClassroom.org gift card for $600, which is equal to the amount that, on average, teachers spend out of their own pockets each year to ensure they have the materials needed to teach their students. AdoptAClassroom.org is a national nonprofit that offers individual donors the ability to search, select and "adopt" an individual teacher, or donate to a general fund that supports teachers from higher-need schools.
"Most people are shocked to hear teachers spend so much of their own money each year to equip their classrooms and students," said Bob Thacker, executive vice president with AdoptAClassroom.org. "Thanks to the commitment of people like Sheryl, and the generosity of our corporate partners like Farmers Insurance, we adopted every teacher at Kennett High School. Our hope is to help all teachers throughout the country who still lack the resources for their students to learn and succeed."
Farmers Insurance has a long history of supporting education and partners with AdoptAClassroom.org to facilitate donations to teachers from its Thank America's Teachers program, which launched in 2014 to rally the country to show its gratitude for America's educators who make a difference in their classrooms, schools and communities.
"We were thrilled to join Sheryl and AdoptAClassroom.org in recognizing the tremendous work of all the teachers and faculty at Kennett High School," said Kelly LaMar, managing lead of Thank America's Teachers for Farmers Insurance. "Any of us can think of a teacher who made a difference in our lives, but today we're able to make a difference in the lives of 36 special teachers and inspire everyone who watched at home to do the same for teachers across the country."
To make a donation to AdoptAClassroom.org or find classrooms to adopt in your community, click AdoptAClassroom. Individuals are also invited to visit www.ThankAmericasTeachers.com to share their thank yous and to vote for their favorite teacher proposals throughout the year.
AdoptAClassroom.org (AAC) gives teachers a hand by providing much needed classroom supplies and materials to help their students learn and succeed. As an award-winning 501(c)(3), AAC makes it easy for donors to provide funding and support to K-12 classrooms in public, private and charter schools throughout the U.S. On average, teachers spend $600 of their own money each year to equip their classrooms - 20% of teachers spend more than $1000 annually. Since 1998 AdoptAClassroom.org has raised over $22 million and benefited more than 5 million students throughout the U.S. AAC holds a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. For more information, or to adopt a classroom, please visit www.adoptaclassroom.org.
About Farmers Insurance
"Farmers Insurance®" and "Farmers®" are tradenames for a group of affiliated insurers providing insurance for automobiles, homes and small businesses and a wide range of other insurance and financial services and products. Farmers Insurance is proud to serve more than 10 million households with over 19 million individual policies, across all 50 states, through the efforts of more than 48,000 exclusive and independent agents and approximately 21,000 employees. Farmers Insurance Exchange, the largest of the three primary insurance insurers that make up Farmers Insurance, is recognized as one of the largest U.S. companies on the 2015 Fortune 500 list.
For more information about Farmers Insurance, visit Farmers.com, Twitter and Instagram, @WeAreFarmers, or Facebook.com/FarmersInsurance.