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Lisle first-grader has 'small idea with big message'

Student throws Tate Woods teachers a surprise party

Published: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 2:13 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 24, 2014 2:52 p.m. CDT
(Bill Ackerman)
Students shout "Surprise!" as their teachers enter the Tate Woods Elementary School gym in Lisle for a surprise party for the teachers. Bill Ackerman - backerman@shawmedia.com

LISLE – Nyah Strupp had an idea, and she wasn’t afraid to see it through.

The Tate Woods Elementary School first-grader handed Principal Wesley Gosselink a folded-up note with a special request followed by two check boxes that read, “Yes or No?”

“She said she had an idea but that it’s a surprise and not to say anything to the teachers,” Gosselink recalled. “So I put it in my pocket and told her we would meet the following Monday.”

The first-grader wanted to throw her teachers a party – a show of appreciation, she said, because “they’re really special to me.”

“They make learning fun and we do so many activities,” Nyah said the day after the party, conducted Thursday.

The folded-up note included a list of supplies for the party – cookies, popcorn, lemonade, Sprite and champagne glasses “to make them feel special.” They also made a large “Thank you” sign and decorated the gymnasium.

Nyah said the teachers were very surprised when they entered the room to a loud “Surprise!” – an exclamation the students held for “a solid minute,” Gosselink said.

Students then read a book to the teachers, who thought they were taking part in the weekly Thursday activity to honor hard-working students. Instead, they were the ones who were honored.

“Teaching is such a challenge, so anytime a student can do something special to remind them how much they are appreciated we want to take advantage of that and do something special,” Gosselink said, referring to Nyah as a “great student.”

“Nyah had this small idea with a really big message,” she added.

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