Image Source: https://www.cp24.com/
A group of downtown Toronto students will be stepping into the next school year in style thanks to their teacher — who bought each pupil in her classroom a brand new pair of sneakers.
“So because everybody worked super, super hard this year, you’re each going to get your very own pair of [Nike] Air Forces,” Stephanie, who goes by Teachinthe6ix online and didn’t want her surname included in this article, is heard saying in the viral video posted to Instagram.
“And you’re going to get to custom design them with markers and paint and use your creativity to design your own individual shoe that you can keep…for forever.”
Video of the gift reveal has now been seen more than 1 million times and garnered nearly 150,000 likes.
Admittedly, Stephanie was not expecting the post to become as popular as it has and explained she’s been using social media as a way to connect with her students’ parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The main thing was: I want the kids to be happy and I want the parents to see what’s going on,” she said in an interview with CTV News Toronto.
She said that, in recent years, she felt the relationship between home and school was lacking. That was especially true for the students in her class who are refugees, including those from Ukraine, Nigeria, and Ethiopia.
“After we came back to school back in March, a lot of them had arrived and they were just fresh here in Canada. Some of them spoke English, some of them not so much. So I try and do community activities where it gets everybody as a family involved.”
A self-proclaimed “sneakerhead” and strong believer in the phrase “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,” Stephanie decided to buy each student their own pair of all-white sneakers, which they could then design and decorate as they saw fit.
With some crowdfunding help, and stealthily measuring each student’s shoe size, Stephanie was able to purchase 22 pairs of the highly-coveted shoes at $75 a pair.
After teaming up with a local sneaker studio to supply the markers and paints needed to individualize each pair, Stephanie’s students could be seen eagerly customizing their new kicks in the video with designs ranging from solar systems to rainbow prints and everything in between.
Stephanie said the reception to the video, both online and by parents of her students, has been overwhelmingly positive and that each design produced by her more than a dozen students are “truly pieces of art.”