WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – Some 22 Washington Township High School students are going to see the Sixers play as a token of appreciation after the teens’ heartfelt gesture for their teacher.
Matt Groark’s second-period class gave him a surprise gift by buying his entire family tickets to an upcoming Sixers game versus the Indiana Pacers after Matt and his wife struggled through the loss of an unborn child.
“We saw how much Mr. Groark was hurting, and we wanted to do something,” Anhtina Ho, a student, said. “We knew he loved the Sixers.”
Ho and another student, Evan Chu, uploaded Groark’s reaction onto various social media platforms.
“Once Tina and I came up with the idea to buy him tickets, money just came flying from everywhere,” Chu said. “I think this proves that even through tough times everyone can come together, and people will be there for each other.”
When the Sixers learned of what the students did for Matt, a die-hard fan of the team, and his family, they decided to return the favor and invite the whole class to the same game.
On Friday, the health and physical education teacher told his class that Sixers were so impressed by their concern for him and his well-being that the entire class could join the family at the game.
“My wife and I have had seven pregnancies over the past six years, five miscarriages, and our world kinda crashed again on Jan. 31,” Matt said. “My students let me get upset and let me do what I had to do to get through those first few days. Several weeks went by and then they surprised me with those tickets. What they wrote was just so heartfelt and kind.”
“To see what they did as 16, 17-year-olds in the world that we are living in, to see young adults show that kind of compassion, as a parent, was pretty amazing to be a part of. My story is what it is, and there are people out there who have dealt with the same thing, if not worse, but to have these kids keep supporting me – they are why I can keep coming to school. Their actions speak for this entire school – the students, the staff, the administration, my health and physical education department -everyone has been so incredible,” Matt added.
Matt told his students, “What you guys did meant so much to us, and a lot of people reached out to me after hearing about it. It is pretty cool that you are guys are responsible for uplifting this community and showing how caring Washington Township is and how great teenagers can be. I am so thankful to the Sixers for reaching out, and I am so excited that we will get to enjoy the game together. It should be a great night.”