BOZEMAN – When a Hyalite Elementary School teacher lost her Apple watch, 27 of her fourth-grade students came together with an idea. It happened on the last day of school.
“They know what kindness means and being a recipient of that, of your students’ kindness is a pretty awesome experience,” said Hyalite Elementary teacher Ally Pitts.
To students, teachers mean a lot.
“It’s a pretty amazing thing to get to hang out with 10-year-olds all day,” Pitts says. “It has been an opportunity to get to know so many students. I started counting up today, 400, close to 400 kids by now.”
“She’s my favorite teacher I’ve ever had,” says Drew Lehmen, one of Pitts’ students.
“She lets us do a lot of fun things but we have to earn them,” says Trigve Chvilicek, another student.
Pitts says it’s meant a lot for her, too.
“You get to be with a person for a year and impact them for life,” Pitts says.
But when her Apple Watch went missing, she became the lesson.
“I had asked them if they had seen it and they didn’t and they were very concerned,” Pitts says. “That was kind of, I thought, the end of the story.”
It was 10-year-old Trigve that had the idea.
“A few weeks later, we were just talking about it at the dinner table and we just thought we should, just maybe, band together as a class,” he says.
“His mom had texted our parents and my dad never told me,” says Ambrose Zimmer, one of Trigve’s classmates.
From their own pockets, each student decided to offer up about $10.
Less than a day later, they had more than $200.
“She was an amazing teacher and she didn’t deserve that, and so we just thought it would be nice to get her a new one,” Trigve says.
And so they did.
Trigve and all of the other students surprised their teacher, and it was all caught on video.
“Oh, no idea. They totally caught me off-guard,” Pitts says.
It was a brand new watch, in a bag, not asked for.
“I think it was a good idea by Trigve and his mom to send that text out because it ended up working,” says Luc Halbert, another student who helped put the surprise together.
It was a gift that’ll keep on giving on Mrs. Pitts’ wrist and for the students who worked hard to make it happen.
“They really have the kindest hearts and they are always looking to help each other,” Pitts says. “I know that, to them, it’s showing me how much they care.”
“You should really always be kind to others,” Trigve says. “Even if it’s just a small thing, it means a lot.”
The kids even had a little extra, enough to get her an armband.
It was seafoam, Mrs. Pitts’ favorite color.
Reporting by Cody Boyer for MTN News