WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A D.C. elementary school teacher constantly goes above and beyond for his third-grade students - getting them classroom iPads or books, but his next venture will give his students a glimpse of what he hopes will be their future.
Alejandro Diasgranados, 26, of Beltsville, Maryland has been teaching at Aiton Elementary School in Northeast D.C. for three years while simultaneously studying for his Masters of Science in Education at Johns Hopkins.
He graduates on May 23 and has started a GoFundMe page to bring his 40 students along for the ride.
“It’s not just a field trip,” Mr. Dias said. “I think it’s an entire experience. They will finally be able to see a graduation - their first graduation. They’ll be able to see someone walking across the stage that looks like them.”
The students are already looking forward to it.
“When I see my teacher, I’m going to feel excited to see him graduate because I never saw my father graduate...so I want to see a man that cares about me graduate,” said Tyreze Spriggs, a third grader.
But Mr. Dias doesn’t want the excitement just for himself. So, during an arts and crafts session, the students made graduation caps so they know exactly what their teacher is feeling.
“When they put it on, it wasn’t just construction paper anymore,” Mr. Dias explained. “It was their hopes and dreams. It was doctors and lawyers and everything that they named. They truly felt like they could be somebody successful.”
And they already have their sights set high.
“I want to go to Stanford and be a successful scholar,” said Spriggs.
That’s exactly what Mr. Dias wants - the students to work hard and aspire for more.
“One thing I’d want them to take away from this experience is you know whether you go to college or not this sets a goal for them,” said Mr. Dias. “This is something they can aim for.”
Mr. Dias set a goal to raise $2,000, and he did it. Now, the students are headed to Baltimore for a trip they’ll never forget. In addition to seeing their teacher walk across the stage, they’ll also be having lunch and going to the aquarium. For many of the students, this will be their first time going to Baltimore or an aquarium.
PHOTOS: DC teacher raises money to bring these kids to his graduation
“These students, they deserve it,” Mr. Dias said. “They will come in here [the classroom], and they work hard every single day, and they are happy and no matter what’s going on outside the classroom. They come in here ready to go. I just know it’s my role to be able to provide access to these types of experiences that they might not have access to.”
Although, they have met their goal, you can donate by clicking here.
Mr. Dias said the additional funds will be used to purchase Hopkins t-shirts for the students.