High school students raise $260,000 for elderly custodian so he can retire
The 80-year-old janitor at their school didn’t have enough money to retire, so three Callisburg, Texas, high school seniors made the decision to assist him.
According to the nearby Fox affiliate KDFW, Mr. James’ rent had increased by around $400 per month. He had to accept the custodial job in January in order to pay it. A few Callisburg classmates decided to launch a GoFundMe campaign on his behalf after learning that.
The trio from Callisburg High School, Greyson Thurman, Marti Yousko, and Banner Tidwell, started a GoFundMe campaign on February 15 that received over 8,000 donations totaling nearly $260,000. According to the students, Callisburg faculty and staff provided the majority of the donations.
The population of Callisburg, a small rural community close to the Oklahoma border, is about 300. With a $12.5 million yearly budget, the school system has two campuses with a combined student body of over 1,150, 86 instructors, and 164 staff workers.
Thurman shared a video of Mr. James cleaning a corridor on TikTok, which caused the campaign for him to go viral. Ambient music and text that contained a link to a GoFundMe page were played in the background of the video.
“This is our 80 y/o janitor who had his rent raised and had to come back to work. Let’s help Mr. James out,” the post read. “No one his age should have to be cleaning our messes up to continue to live.”
Over 3,500 people “liked” the video, and 250 people commented. On Friday, the students ended their Crowdfunding effort.
An 81-year-old Walmart employee was able to pay off her house and retire in November thanks to a TikToker’s more than $186,000 in donations.
Callisburg Principal Jason Hooper is proud of his students, as well as those who pitched in.
“Its just amazing,” said Hooper, ”You know of the need that was met because of three kind kids, but of all of our students who have pitched in to help that need.”, KXII reported.
Mr. James, whom Yousko described as sweet and “very shy, very quiet,” declined to be interviewed by KDFW Fox 4.