When Shana Richey shared with her class that her cell phone was lost, she had no idea that one student would put his compassion into action.
Eight-year-old Trenten Whitlock, a student in Richey’s second-grade class at Julia P. Bryant Elemenray School, told his mom that he wanted to raise money to help his teacher buy a new phone. Trenten is the son of Nolan and Krysti Whitlock.
“Because God would want me to do good things,” Trenten told his mom about the idea. “Ms. Richey deserves it,” he said.
Trenten said he loves his class at Julia Bryant and his teacher, and he is especially thrilled about all that he has learned in her classroom.
“I feel like she’s really taught me a lot of things, like reading. Reading is my favorite subject.”
In fact, his reading book may have helped spark the idea.
“We’d recently read a story called ‘Mr. Tanen’s Tie Trouble’ in our reading book,” Richey said. “Mr. Tanen is the principal of the school, and the school is in need of new playground equipment. But because the school had so many repairs recently, they didn’t have enough money for the playground.
“In the story, kids bring in jars to raise money and raise $146. Mr. Tanen auctions off his collection of ties and helps the kids earn enough money to purchase equipment.”
Richey said the students spent time studying story structure, plot, setting and other details, as well as completed a related art project.
Not long after reading the story, Ms. Richey shared with the kids about her lost phone and that she wouldn’t be getting one right away because of the cost and caring for her elderly mother.
That’s when Trenten devised a plan. His mom wasn’t really surprised by his thoughtfulness, because she said he often thinks of others.
“We’ve raised our children in church,” said Whitlock, whose family attends Southbridge Community Church. “We’ve encouraged him to be a giver and a good servant, to do good. The only thing we’ve ever wanted is for our kids to be kind. Our heart is happy.”
Trenten sold lemonade on a cold Saturday morning, and said his younger sister Bree, a Kindergarten student at Julia P., was a big help. Trenten made a sign for the sale, his mom let the neighbors know through social media and he helped prepare the lemonade that morning.
“My first customer was a police officer,” said Trenten, with a large grin.
Richey said she was shocked when Trenten told her what he planned.
“He has such a good heart,” Richey said. “What values! What a leader, so proactive.
“I was totally blown away that he would do this. That he would transfer knowledge from a story we read.”
Speaking directly to Trenten, Richey said, “When we’re proactive, we do good things. When we have a positive attitude and goodness in our heart, we can accomplish a lot. You keep on being great. You put me in front of yourself. I love you.”
Krysti Whitlock said her son already has huge ambitions for another project.
“He wants to sell lemonade this summer, when it’s not freezing cold, and he wants to make enough money for everyone to have free lunch.”
Trenten’s mom marvels at his lofty goals and said that perhaps they can at least pay off lunch debt.
Ms. Richey told Trenten, “Let me know, and I’ll come help you with your lemonade stand this summer. When we’re good role models like you, when we make good choices, it plants a seed for others to make those good choices.”