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A Christmas Transformed by Upper School Students’ Generosity

Nov 19, 2014 | Uncategorized

IMG_0939As the featured speaker during the Upper School Chapel program this morning, Dr. Brett Jacobsen declared, “Let’s transform someone’s life today!” He then asked them to pass the dollar they were asked to bring to chapel that day, toward the aisles. Unbeknownst to the students, Mrs. Becker and Dr. Jacobsen had been working behind the scenes to identify a recipient for this one-time collection.
At Mount Vernon, we are grateful for the partnership we have with Starbucks. Specifically, the staff at the 6160 Roswell Road location, who consistently support our school by donating coffee and sponsoring the many events we host on campus. As a way to say thank you, Mrs. Becker reached out to Store Manager Shannon Schoeman, to determine if there was any one member of their staff who might benefit from an extra thank you. Ms. Schoeman immediately thought of Melissa, one of the baristas, and shared her story with us.
As Melissa unknowingly delivered coffee to the gym during chapel, Dr. Jacobsen thanked her for coming, invited her to stand with him at the podium, and then shared her story (as told by Ms. Schoeman, her manager) in front of over 200 students.

Melissa has been with us for a mere five months and it was just meant to be.  She is an extremely dedicated and exceptional woman who received a degree in Culinary Arts for bakery and pastry, and has the most adorable 2-year-old daughter, Gabriela. She moved to Georgia about six months ago with her fiance and his sister. I cannot even explain how compassionate and giving Melissa is, she lives and breathes being a mother and it shows in just how good natured her daughter is. Her kindness and generosity shows no bounds either, for she was there when her sister-in-law fell ill and had a premature baby at 27 weeks. Always putting others first, not only while raising her own daughter, she is helping out with her new niece and her mother at any chance she has. Due to her unique situation she is unable to work as much as she would like because she is always putting her daughter first. She has been a tremendous asset to the development of my own team and is one that truly embodies the Starbucks core mission and values to heart each and every day.  I am proud to call her a partner.  

At that moment, she was blessed with a generous gift – thanks to our students. Overwhelmed, she hugged Dr. Jacobsen and thanked the students through tears. It was difficult to discern who was touched the most – Melissa or the students.
Later, Melissa asked how she could repay everyone and was asked to simply pay it forward. With that, she replied, “My daughter will now have a great Christmas.”