PFLUGERVILLE, Texas — Pflugerville ISD is three weeks into the new school year and things are looking good for Copperfield Elementary. Every student on campus has an electronic device for remote learning thanks to one teacher.
His smile says it all. Noel Ortegon is psyched for third grade, and with a teacher like Margaret Olivarez, how can he not be?
"Ms. Olivarez, she is very outgoing. I've never seen anybody work so hard for her students and she is always on top of it," said Noel's mom, Lisbeth Ortegon.
Back in March, at the start of the pandemic, Copperfield Elementary students transitioned to online learning. Third-grade teacher Olivarez quickly realized there was a desperate need for learning devices.
"They didn't have the devices. Our district did do their best to hand out devices but we were scrambling," said Olivarez.
So that got her thinking about this school year. Over the summer, Olivarez reached out to CEOs of big corporations.
"I started out with something small – if you can maybe sponsor five students," she added.
The response was overwhelming. State Farm, Amazon, Progressive and Lenovo were among countless companies more than willing to donate.
"We have laptops; we have Chromebooks; we have Fire Tablets for the younger kids; we have a little bit of everything. To be honest, I think we are almost a little over $30,000 in monetary donations," Olivarez said.
That's not including more than 100 laptops and Fire Tablets that were donated. Because of Olivarez, every child on campus, nearly 600 students, started out this school year with a new device.
KVUE and Charles Maund Toyota also pitched in and donated $1,000 to Olivarez, for paying it forward.
"It starts off small and then it grows into this big thing. I'm just grateful, very grateful," said Olivarez.
She said for her, it's never about getting recognition; it's about her getting her students the help they need. That's something parents who know her well agree on.
"Ms. Olivarez is just very caring and passionate. She is passionate about teaching. She's passionate about what she does and you see that. You see when she speaks to you how dedicated she is to her students," added Ortegon.
If you know someone who's paying it forward and you'd like to nominate them, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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