CHARLOTTE, NC — As far as talk show hosts go, there are probably few on the air waves as widely loved as Ellen DeGeneres. During the Thursday episode of The Ellen Show, however, one super fan’s love for the talkshow stepped in positivity was rivaled only by the love she has for her students at Montclaire Elementary in Charlotte.
"I know a lot of you try to get tickets to the show for a long, long time. People wait for a long time," DeGeneres said. "There is someone in the audience today who has been trying for 10 years to get tickets," she said, calling Montclaire first grade teacher Jordan Siragusa to the stage.
"Finally!" Siragusa said, beaming with joy as she sat in an armchair across from DeGeneres.
Siragusa recounted for DeGeneres how her last attempt to get tickets had just been two weeks prior during a trip to California with her husband Sonny, but when none were available, they went on a tour of the Warner Brothers Studio. Siragusa took photos of the Ellen Show office plaque. "They drove me by. That was as close as I was going to get to my girl," she said. Siragusa and her husband then sought out Ellen’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for photos.
"So you’re here with your husband," DeGeneres said. "Did you know he was writing letters trying to get you here?" Siragusa teared up as the host read aloud a letter, describing his wife as someone "born to change lives."
"Everyone knows that the number one rule in her classroom is to be kind, and that is all because of you," he wrote to DeGeneres. "Through hardships, financial struggles and my two deployments, Jordan always radiates kindness and compassion. Thank you for inspiring Jordan to be kind and the beautiful person that she is."
Montclair Elementary, where Siragusa teaches in south Charlotte, is a Title I school with a student population that is about to-thirds hispanic and about 90 percent high poverty.
"Not only are they facing financial struggles but a lot of them are new to the country and learning the language for the first time," Siragusa said. "They just deal with a lot more than other people deal with and they’re still such wonderful bright lights to everyone that works there," Siragusa said. "They’re just wonderful kids."
Siragusa recounted how her first grade teacher treated her when she was diagnosed at a young age with dyslexia. "When I found that out, she made me feel just as smart and capable as everyone else in that room. I just hope I can make other children feel that way. They all are capable and smart and can chase their dreams and do what they want to do."
As any casual or regular viewer of The Ellen Show knows, its rare that a guest leaves the stage without swag, and Siragusa’s experience was no exception. DeGeneres presented her with a full scholarship with Western Governors University to pursue a masters degree, and a check for $10,000.
DeGeneres also sent her home with T-shirts for her students. On the front was a message that started it all: Be Kind.
You can watch the entire segment here: