Students at La Vergne High School in La Vergne, Tennessee, have gone viral in a video that has been shared thousands of times this week. After watching one of their own go through a tough time, they joined together to buy shoes and clothes for Azie Robinson, a freshman.
Robinson, who was moved to tears in a video that showed his classmates surprising him with gifts, said, “Recently, something happened, and I don’t want to get into it, but it broke me.” According to other students, Robinson’s struggle was more emotional than financial.
The other students noted that Robinson is always one to lend a helping hand and support his fellow classmates, so when he was facing his own problems, his peers knew they had to reach out. Kerolos Girgis, who paid for the shoes with his own money, said, “It’s not even about shoes or clothes, it’s about the act of giving to people and that act of giving made him happy, it made us happy because he referenced, he’s like our hero.”
Robinson wasn’t the only one touched by the show of kindness. “We cried, we all cried in the classroom, it was like oh my goodness,” said Sonji Newman, their biology teacher. Newman hopes this demonstration of love and respect will inspire others to help those in need.
Heartwarming video shows students helping classmate in need in Tennessee high school
HELPING HANDS: When the classmates of Azie Robinson, a freshman at a high school in Tennessee who has a reputation for helping others, noticed their friend going through a tough time, the students surprised Robinson with the gift of kindness. Tom Llamas reports. #AmericaStrong https://abcn.ws/2Svb6NsPosted by ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on Sunday, March 31, 2019
Newman added that young people are often only associated with negative issues like crime, fights, drugs, and bullying, yet she said that there are many great kids in the community.
“I took a nap and I woke up and I saw like 60,000 people shared it,” said Girgis, in reference to the video. Karen Gonzalez, another student who helped out planning the surprise said, “I didn’t think we’d get this far, because it wasn’t our intention.”
The La Vergne High School students were not planning on going viral. They simply wanted to show their support for a classmate. “This world is cruel, because if you don’t change it, who is going to change it?” Girgis said.
Traci Robinson, Azie’s mom, was also moved by the experience. “It’s beyond words for me, it’s just amazing,” she said. Meanwhile, Robinson, still overwhelmed by the surprise, added, “This world is filled with evil, and it’s filled with so many people who want to hurt each other, but there is a hero in all of us.”
Tennessee teen at center of viral video with millions of views surprises classmates
PAYING IT FORWARD: The first lesson we learned from La Vergne High School students is that when you do positive things to others, it comes back to you ❤️ The freshman at center of a viral video with millions of views uses fundraiser money to surprise classmates: https://bit.ly/2TunVw6Posted by WZTV FOX 17 News, Nashville on Monday, March 11, 2019
A GoFundMe page has been set up for Robinson. His mother said the money donated will go to other students who are in need of school supplies.
“We need to be the generation to be the most positive,” said Dylan Norton, another freshman.
To thank his classmates, Robinson threw a pizza party with the money raised on his GoFundMe page. So far, $4,373 have poured in. Robinson says he doesn’t want to spend the money on himself, emphasizing that when you do something positive for others, it comes back to you.
Robinson also paid tribute to his friends on Instagram, writing, “Thank you to everyone who has supported me and has just made me the most blessed boy in the world...ever since I was little all I wanted to do is help people and give them hope and being called a hero by some of the most special people in the world means something to me that I don't think anyone is going to understand.”
Although the exact reasons for Robinson’s struggle were not revealed, it is important to note that suicide trends among teenagers in the US are alarming. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the suicide rate in the US has been increasing every year since the turn of the millennium. Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for all Americans from 10 to 34 years old.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK ) is a US-based suicide prevention network that provides a 24/7, toll-free hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.