Area Teacher Receives Heartfelt Surprise

by Elizabeth Pitts-Hibbard
Photo courtesy of Jami Cole Photo courtesy of Jami Cole

Horace Mann Elementary School teacher Jami Cole got an unexpected surprise this Valentine’s Day, but it wasn’t from her husband Drew; it was for him.

This morning while Cole’s third grade students were delivering valentines to each other, Joslin Lockhart presented Jami with a big bag of candy.

“And then she told me, ‘There’s something for Mr. Cole’ in the bottom,” Jami said. “I told her I wasn’t going to share my candy with him, and I laughed. And then I looked in the bottom of the bag, and there was over $400 in there.”

Drew Cole, an art and media teacher at Duncan High School, was diagnosed with Leukemia just over a year ago. Since then, the Coles have traveled to Oklahoma City every five weeks for treatments, which Jami says cost nearly $13,000 per month. The Coles have received donations to help with treatment and travel expenses, including being a recipient of Duncan High School student council’s annual HALO fundraising week, but perhaps none quite as heartfelt as the one Jami Cole found at the bottom of Joslin’s bag.

“Since November, Joslin has been going door to door selling candy to raise money for Drew,” Jami said. “She’s never met him, but she wanted to do this and she kept it a secret. She’s been out in the cold, selling candy, in between school and basketball and karate lessons, to help us out.

“She’s an amazing kid,” Jami said. “I have a roomful of amazing kids but this blew me away.”

Jami said that Joslin wants to help find a cure for cancer when she grows up. “We were doing opinion papers in class the other day, and the writing prompt was ‘If I grow up to be President, what kind of President would I be?’ and Joslin said that if she were President she’d make sure there was a cure. It’s all she wants.”

Jami said that she constantly tells her students that they can change the world. “Anyone can be a hero,” she said. “I want them to know that. Anyone can change the world. Joslin just did.”