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Student has gift-giving down to a science
When Amulya Doniparthi, 11, told her parents what she wanted for her birthday, they were quite surprised by her request: a set of new textbooks for her science class.
Amulya, a sixth-grade student at Woodard Junior High School, said that after watching her teacher, Karen Rhodes, constantly tape the 12-year-old books back together during class, she decided that she wanted to find a way to replace them.
“I asked for other things for my birthday, but I thought this would be a more sensible gift because it would help the school, too ... Mrs. Rhodes is a very supportive teacher and I thought she deserved to have some better books than what she had before.”
While science is one of Amulya's favorite subjects, she ultimately chose to replace the science textbooks over those in any of her other classes because they were in the worst condition.
“It was really irritating to have books that were constantly falling apart and the pages were coming out. It was hard to take notes because sometimes the pages will be mismatched and everything.”
Although Amulya's birthday was in October, her mother, Radhika, said the books have been coming in a few at a time from Amazon.com, where she found great deals. Now, they are just waiting for the final two books to arrive on campus to complete the 35-book set, including a teacher's edition.
“I was happy to see her doing things for the class,” her mother said. “She's not only thinking about herself.”
Radhika noted that this donation is very characteristic of her daughter as a person. She recalled that Amulya once built a Barbie dollhouse to give as a gift to a 5-year-old girl who is a family friend.
“She made everything by herself and got the stuff and made it. The whole setup and the bedrooms and everything she did by herself.”
Rhodes, the sixth-grade science teacher at Woodard, said that after teaching with the same textbooks and teacher's edition for over a decade and using four to six rolls of tape every month to hold them together, she was so grateful for the new books.
“I cried, I was just so overwhelmed by her generosity and kindness. I could not believe that a child would give up her birthday present so our students could benefit.”
Rhodes said it would it benefit not only Amulya's sixth-period class but also her other four science classes throughout the day, 140 students in total.
One of her fellow classmates was so happy to see the new textbooks that they kissed the book as soon as they saw it, Amulya said with a laugh.
Woodard Principal Andy Wait said he was amazed to hear about the donation.
“Obviously with funding cuts and things like that, we haven't refreshed the textbooks in a long time and we've had to get a lot more mileage out of them than we probably should.
“Just to notice that and to pick that for her birthday present is just amazing. Now they don't have to worry about taping their books, more time can just be focused on instruction and not on the broken things in the class.”
Yuma Elementary School District 1 Superintendent Darwin Stiffler shared the story of the donation at a governing board meeting earlier this month and noted that it was an extraordinary gesture.
“I've been doing this for almost 30 years and I can't recall such a thing before,” he said.
Sarah Womer can be reached at email@example.com or 539-6858. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSSarahWomer or on Twitter at @YSSarahWomer.