Local elementary school teacher and her students bring the community cheer during the pandemic

Posted at 8:24 AM, Jan 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-12 11:48:08-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — A local teacher is trying to share a glimmer of hope in what has been a tough last year for everyone.

"Even though we can't be in person, we can still love each other and be kind to each other and make people smile."

Roxi Romo Kertis is a teacher at James Curran Middle School. Each year, she and her students come up with acts of kindness. This year, because of the pandemic they had to get creative. Her students find a rock and decorate it.

"Whatever kind of artwork they want to put on it, which was maybe thankful or grateful, one little boy said 'smile' and I teach English as a second language so it's nice to see these kids take a chance."

Once they were decorated, it was time to share them so students gave them out to different members of the community.

"We decided to leave them for the mail lady, for the neighbor, and for the little lady down the street who doesn't get any visitors."

Kertis says her students were excited to share what happened with her, one student said the little lady down the street was overwhelmed with joy.

"When she got my rock she looked out the screen and she was so happy and smiley. She said I thought people forgot about me down here."

To follow in her students' footsteps, Kertis says she's contributed in her own acts of kindness.

"It's important to me to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk and to actually do what I tell my students I want them to do." She started a fundraiser for the Children at Schriner's Medical Center in Pasadena, an organization that she holds close to her heart.

"They saved my sister's life," so this is her way of paying Schriner's back.

Kertis says she even has past students from other countries donating to her fundraiser, and her current students are invested in how much money has been raised.

"Every time I go on zoom all the kids always ask me 'how much money have you raised Miss Romo? How much money have we raised for Schriner's Hospital?'"

If you’d like to donate, you can do so online.