First Grade Students At Drexel Elementary Surprised With Scooters To End National Random Act Of Kindness Week

Ariel Parrella-Aureli
February 21, 2020 - 2:25 pm
First graders

(Bobby Johandes/Buddy's HELPERS)


CICERO, Ill. (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Dozens of first-grade students thought they were attending a regular assembly Friday morning but instead were surprised with new scooters as part of National Random Acts of Kindness Week.

More than 50 high school athletes from various suburb schools presented the 62 first graders at Drexel Elementary in Cicero with the scooters, which were unveiled as the auditorium curtain opened and confetti fell from the ceiling.

The children, a diverse group who mostly come from low-income families, jumped up and cheered upon seeing the scooters, happy to receive a new toy just for them.

“To put a smile on a little kid’s face — there is really nothing better,” said Pat Coogan, a football player at Marist High School who was part of the athlete celebration.

Bailey Pubentz, a senior at Joliet West High School, said seeing the kids' excitement was an incredible experience that reminded her of elementary school days.

Over 50 high school athletes came to Drexel Elementary to surprise the first grade students. (Bobby Johandes/Buddy's HELPERS)

"They look up to us so much and being able to do something like this is making their day," Pubentz said. "They are going to remember this for a long time." 

Parents, teachers and staff in attendance were just as excited about the surprise gift.

Luis Illa, the principal of Drexel, who has been in education for 28 years, praised the random act of kindness by the high school students.

“The students recently helped raise and send money for causes in Australia, Ecuador and a family right here in Cicero, who was displaced by a house fire,” Illa said. “So, to have a random act of kindness like this come into our building today for our students was really special to see.”

Excited girl
(Bobby Johandes/Buddy's HELPERS)

The gifts were originally planned to serve second graders at the school as well, but because of limitations stemming from China's economic halt due to the coronavirus, only the first-graders were able to get scooters, which came from Wal-Mart.

Drexel was chosen because 90% of the students come from low-income families, and this is a high-performing elementary school in terms of test scores, attendance and awards.

The special moment is a part of the "Making A Difference On AND Off The Field" campaign, presented by the PepsiCo Showdown and Buddy’s HELPERS.