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Celebrate! Graduation dance pays it forward

By Room 241 Team May 6, 2014

A lucky high school student will receive a $500 Apple Store gift card, thanks to a school counselor’s celebration graduation dance video.

Academic counselor Ted Thomas of Ann Sobrato High School in Morgan Hill, California, entered our Facebook contest requesting videos of stage-crossing, graduation dance moves in commemoration of Concordia University-Portland’s Spring Commencement 2014.

Although he normally wouldn’t have entered a Facebook contest, Thomas “shot the video in celebration of all of the accomplishments our seniors have had this school year and in anticipation of upcoming commencement ceremonies throughout the country.”

How he’ll use the gift card

Thomas, who won the gift card via a random drawing, plans “to pay it forward. We have a program for at-risk students that pit them in a spelling bee type competition involving academic language that they have been working with all school year.”

“The 16 students will stand on stage in front of staff, peers, parents, administrators, district office personnel, community members and the mayor of Morgan Hill — very intimidating for a shy 14- to 15-year old,” he wrote. “My plan is to award a winner with the gift card in hopes that they can use it for a laptop or an iPad that will enhance their educational experience.”

Helps students prepare for college

When he’s not dancing, Thomas advises, mentors and assists students and families from low-income and first-generation backgrounds with college preparation, application, selection and financial aid processes.

“As I’m sure you can imagine, I have an incredibly fulfilling occupation that provides me plentiful opportunities to impact the lives of the future doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, architects and engineers. In my daily conversations with students and parents, it brings me great joy and pleasure to know that I have provided someone a pathway to achieving their hopes and aspirations,” he wrote.

Will any of his students follow him into academia?

“Frequently, when career counseling students we discuss many of the helping professions, and often students lean toward teaching. Many know that the pay doesn’t match the effort/time involved, however the joy and satisfaction that a person can feel is not something that can be taken to the bank. Rather, students often will choose teaching because someone in their educational experience made a special impact on their life and they want to give back the best way they can, as a positive influence and role model.”

Thomas appreciates Concordia’s “generosity and the unrelenting commitment to open and accessible education for all who choose to pursue personal goals, dreams and passions.”

Interested in what Concordia can do for you? Request more information using the simple form on this page; or you can visit our Scholarships & Grants page to learn more how we help educate teachers.