D.J.’s super power? He truly, deeply cares

D.J.’s super power? He truly, deeply cares
Posted on 05/25/2018
D.J.’s super power? He truly, deeply cares

When a young student in Angela Chandler’s classroom began crying one day during class, the Raguet Elementary School reading teacher repeatedly asked the student what was wrong and if she could help.

The boy, a first-grader, stopped crying long enough to say quietly, “I want to talk to D.J. about it.”

And so he did. D.J. is a fifth-grader, and he’s known in the halls of Raguet as a student that, without a doubt, cares for others. Teachers know it, too.

Raguet teachers and staff felt so strongly about it, they nominated D.J. for a student hero award from the State Board of Education. Chandler was only too happy to write the recommendation to District 9 SBOE member Keven Ellis.

On Friday, Ellis was in the Raguet cafeteria along with the rest of the school to present D.J. with the SBOE Student Heroes Award. Ellis is from Lufkin, and his East Texas district includes Nacogdoches.

While D.J. is thoughtful and compassionate, he can also be a bit shy. He timidly stood in front of the stage next to Ellis, who read a proclamation before presenting D.J. with the award, all while cheers from students at Raguet threatened to raise the cafeteria’s roof.

“Though this is a time when the world’s attention is appropriately focused on ways to stop random acts of violence against our children at school, the State Board of Education today is honoring 15 public school students who have demonstrated inspiring acts of kindness and compassion,” Ellis told Raguet students and teachers. “Their good deeds include blanket drives, raising funds to provide free chemotherapy treatments, and launching efforts to make sure no child eats lunch isolated and alone.”

At Raguet, D.J. goes out of his way to care for fellow students; he also helps out teachers, Chandler said.

Last year, when Chandler’s blood sugar level dropped, her cell phone was obtained by another teacher. When D.J. saw someone else had Chandler’s phone, he made a point to say something.

“I promise you could put $100 on the ground, and he’d bring it back,” she said.

D.J. also helped Chandler while she hobbled around school earlier this year with a foot injury.

On Friday, D.J. and his father, Damiano Sanders, had their picture made and a TV station reporter was on hand to video the proceedings.

“... when I hear the word ‘hero,’ I picture D.J.,” Chandler wrote in her letter to the state board. “He’s my reminder that there is still goodness, love, and kindness in the world.”