RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Ridgefield High School graduate Nikki Bollerman, a third-grade teacher in Massachusetts, was honored on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" for her philanthropy and selflessness
Bollerman, a 2006 graduate of Ridgefield High, won $150,000 in a Facebook contest, #WishForOthers, which was sponsored by Capital One. After winning the contest in December, she donated the award to her school, UP Academy in the Dorchester neighborhood in Boston.
In an interview with show host Ellen DeGeneres, Bollerman said she entered the contest so each of her students could have a book to take home for Christmas break.
"My kids are amazing. Ninety percent of my kids are low income,'' Bollerman said on the show. "Some of them are homeless. They just have such challenges. They deserve so much. This is just a little bit of what I can give them."
Bollerman has been teaching at UP Academy for two years, according to a story in The Boston Globe. A graduate of Stonehill College in Massachusetts, Bollerman said she followed the footsteps of her mother and grandmother into education.
She played hockey while attending Ridgefield High, where she earned All-Conference honors. She also played field hockey and was a Girl Scout and a member of the National Honor Society.
At Stonehill, she won the school's Walter Devine Award for a senior “who shows a commitment to hard work, taught with a level of professionalism beyond typically seen in a pre-service teacher and is identified as exceptionally talented and dedicated.”
DeGeneres and retail giant Target rewarded Bollerman by giving all of the students at the school's backpacks filled with school essentials. DeGeneres, through Target, also gave Bollerman a $25,000 gift certificate (and a huge supply of Skittles) and $500 to every teacher at UP Academy.
Capital One gave all of Bollerman's students books to read during Christmas break. After she won the award, Bollerman told The Globe: "I never thought about keeping it for myself,” she said. “I won it for the kids, and that’s where it’s going to go.”
A video clip of Bollerman's appearance on Ellen is on YouTube .
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