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Eddins Student Teacher Leia Hunt Gets a Big Surprise from Education Blogger Dr. Lori Friesen

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Tuesday, May 23, 2023
Eddins Elementary student teacher Leia Hunt and Dr. Lori Friesen share a laugh as Friesen surprises Hunt during class with a check for $1000.

Eddins Elementary student teacher Leia Hunt and Dr. Lori Friesen share a laugh as Friesen surprises Hunt during class with a check for $1000.

McKinney, Texas – Leia Hunt, a student teacher at Eddins Elementary, is wrapping up the school year with some extra money in her pocket thanks to a generous $1000 donation from Dr. Lori Friesen, a popular education blogger and podcaster. The funds will come in handy as Leia prepares to launch her career full time in the fall as a first grade teacher at Eddins.

Friesen was joined by McKinney ISD Superintendent Shawn Pratt, Eddins Principal Cari Owens and a host of other MISD well-wishers when Friesen surprised Hunt in her classroom earlier this month. It’s part of Friesen’s mission to help new teachers succeed as they embark on their journey as educators—and to let them know how much they are appreciated.

As Friesen considered the candidates for the award, Leia’s story stood out.

group shot with Leia holding check and students in the foreground

“We had hundreds of applications for this first year teacher giveaway,” said Friesen. “When we saw Ms. Hunt’s video…there’s something very special about a teacher who has battled some personal challenges herself and then uses her talent. We say, ‘Your mess becomes your message.’ She really impacts kids not just in the classroom, but her work outside the classroom is so incredible. And, I know she’s going to leave a legacy both inside the classroom and in her community.”

That work “outside the classroom” is Leia’s Kids, a non-profit foundation that Leia—who survived two battles with childhood cancer—established as a way to encourage and support kids and their families who are going through the same challenges that Leia and her family went through.

“To say I was astounded and surprised is not enough to express how I feel about winning the generous grant out of the hundreds of applications,” said Leia. “I am so thankful to Dr. Lori Friesen for assisting my future students and me in creating a perfect community space inside my classroom.

“Establishing an environment that fosters both growth and fun is important to increase knowledge, and because of Dr. Lori Friesen, I can give MISD students that space and the education to grow! Thank you, Dr. Lori Friesen for assisting with my teaching dreams,” said Leia.

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