‘Totally surreal:’ Picture of broken chair drove donations of $44K in supplies for Oklahoma teacher
MCALESTER, Okla. — When an Oklahoma teacher revealed what the chairs in her classroom look like, she couldn’t imagine how far one photo could go.
On March 28, Laurissa Kovacs took to Facebook to raise awareness about the conditions her students learn — and sit — in. A week later, the art teacher from Puterbaugh Middle School in McAlester, Oklahoma, had received more than $44,000 in donated supplies, as of Wednesday evening.
In her post, Kovacs described having to bring folding chairs from home because there are not enough seats in her class. The lack of space and the large class size also force her to scale back on projects and activities, she wrote.
“At the end of the day I felt like I needed people to see just a glimpse of the issues we face every day,” she told CNN.
Her post had been shared over 82,000 times as of Wednesday afternoon, with thousands of comments asking how to help.
On March 30, Kovacs created an Amazon registry where people can purchase supplies such as markers, pencil sharpeners and, of course, chairs.
What she didn’t expect was the outpouring of contributions that followed.
Donations range from scissors and origami paper to six refurbished Google Chromebooks.
“The past five days has been totally surreal and I don’t think the full effect will hit me until I’m back in my classroom with my students,” she said. “I think they will be amused to see me cry when I’m explaining everything.”
Kovacs is one of hundreds of Oklahoma teachers participating in a walkout to demand increased funding for schools and higher wages for educators.
Though she is spending her week at the state Capitol, the teacher stopped by Puterbaugh on Wednesday morning to check on the incoming supplies.
She was greeted by more than 600 packages. More are on the way.
Kovacs is touched by the overwhelming kindness and plans on spreading the good fortune.
“My plans are to share, share, share!” she said. “I’m not the only one in my district who needs things, so I’ll be sharing it all.”