Ellen & Target Give Eastway Elementary $100,000 in Durham, NC


Ellen: Teacher Sarah Myrick

Ellen DeGeneres surprised a deserving teacher, Sarah Myrick, inviting her to sit down for a quick chat about what she’s up to. She is a teacher at Eastway Elementary School.

Ellen heard about the school’s story and sent someone there to get the full scoop for her show. The school has a diverse student body, “48% Hispanic students and maybe roughly 49% African American students,” Principal Kendral Flowers said.


Ellen: Eastway Elementary

Ellen sent cameras inside Eastway Elementary in Durham, North Carolina, where needy students are getting a big surprise.

Ellen Goes Inside Eastway Elementary School

The principal said the school requires the best efforts and intentions of its teachers. Most students are below the poverty line, with 98% of them qualifying for free or reduced lunch programs. Sarah teaches 4th grade, and she loves her students like her own children.

Sadly, some of the students are homeless, or have been homeless, and she said it’s not fair that children have to worry about hunger or shelter. The school has a full time social worker and a nurse who provides medical care; they try to provide as much as possible for these students.


Ellen: Eastway Elementary Teachers

Kindergarten teacher Kim Chavis reported that students often start school not knowing how to hold a pencil, or even what their first and last names are.

Abigail Corpening teaches 1st grade, and when she first came to Eastway, the classrooms had few books and no paper. She and other teachers purchase supplies out of their own pockets to give kids the materials they need.

Sarah was inspired to contact Ellen after seeing her work with Whitney Elementary School. The principal said that children need access to resources, including books and modern technology, to have opportunities to succeed in life.

Ellen: America’s Schools in Crisis

Sarah said she wants to make students feel comfortable and safe so they can learn, thrive, and realize their full potential. Back in the studio, Ellen pulled out the tissues for Sarah.

Ellen said that she had no idea how many schools were in such rough shape, until letters and stories came pouring in after Whitney Elementary was featured on her show.

“It is outrageous that we are sending children to schools like this, and that we don’t have a better system, and that we aren’t supporting our children,” Ellen said. “It’s unbelievable to me.”

Ellen: Sarah’s Homework Hotline

Eastway is in Durham, North Carolina, and Sarah even got a second phone line to use as a homework hotline for her students. Ellen also noted Principal Flowers, who came to the show with Sarah.

“Our teachers are very hardworking,” she said. “We have a school where you really have to want to be there.” She said that work extend well beyond the school day so students can get attention and education.

Ellen: Eastway Elementary School Surprise

Ellen teamed up with Target to help Eastway Elementary School through their Community Giving Program. Each teacher at Eastway will get a $500 Target gift card, which should go a long way toward helping with classroom materials and supplies.

Ellen also announced that the school itself is getting $100,000 from Target. Sarah and her principal were in tears at this amazing surprise.

In addition, Target is giving away 50 grants of $100,000 to needy schools. That’s a great way to help tackle the education challenges in our schools these days.


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