LANCASTER COUNTY, SC (WBTV) - Several teachers in South Carolina are receiving some unexpected surprises from popular television host Stephen Colbert.
Colbert announced on Thursday that he has partnered with several groups to fund every classroom project in South Carolina on DonorsChoose.org. The move will fund nearly 1,000 projects for more than 800 teachers at more than 375 schools in South Carolina, according to a news release from DonorsChoose. The contribution will total $800,000.
Colbert is a South Carolina native and will soon take over for David Letterman on The Late Show.
"I'm so excited to announce we are funding all 1,000 South Carolina projects on DonorsChoose.org today," Colbert said. "DonorsChoose.org makes it so easy to have an impact and connect directly with the teachers and students you're helping."
Teachers at schools in York and Lancaster counties will be among those receiving the grant money from the celebrity.
"We write grants in order to get things for our classroom that the schools don't necessarily have the money allotted for in the budget," said Brandan Craig, a fifth grade teacher at Heath Springs Elementary School in Lancaster County.
At Heath Springs, 15 teacher projects totaling more than $15,000 were funded by the comedian.
"These grants are really going to help us bring learning to life for them," Craig said.
One grant will add a second pottery wheel to the school that has infused art with learning.
"You keep your hands on it, and then it starts spinning," said Demaria Sowell, a 5th grader who showed WBTV how the wheel worked.
Sowell says it's more than just a club; it helps build pride and confidence in their work.
She recently made a clay bowl.
"My mom was like, we're going to use it to keep our change in," Sowell said with a smile.
Craig just learned he may not have to hold up books so kids can see pictures anymore. Colbert will fund a grant he wrote for a document camera.
"It will help me be able to keep my kids engaged in my reading and allow them to see the pictures," Craig said.
New technology like iPads and chrome books are now also crossed off the about a dozen teachers' wish list.
"I knew he was a comedian and then he donated all this money towards schools and it was really shocking, but I'm extremely thankful for what he did," Craig said.
Most of the kids are unfamiliar with Colbert, but like all good girls and boys, they said thank you (link to video?)
"Thank you!" said the Craig's entire class.
About a dozen teachers at Rock Hill Schools will have projects funded with Colbert's donation, according to a spokesperson for the district.
A band teacher at Chester Middle School will use the money for several new instruments for students.
Several teachers in York Schools also were able to get some of the grant money.