Our mission? Surprise the principal at Strawbridge Elementary in Virginia Beach. I joined a group of educators as we entered the school's main office asking for Jackie Sargent, who ventured out with a bewildered look on her face. I told her we had been hearing good things about her from fellow educator Dr. Paulette France, who is battling cancer. While getting treatment, she needed to take medical leave from her position as principal at Point O' View Elementary...that's when Jackie took action.
Paulette read a portion of the email she sent me, nominating Jackie, "She told me that she wanted to do this for me because I mattered to her. She also said that she could not do anything to make my cancer go away, but she could do something to take away some stress."
One of the things that Jackie did, was help organize with other principals, to provide meals for seven weeks for Paulett'e family. And it didn't stop there according to Paulette, "Some people donated leave days to me so that I would be able to have the time at home to rest. Even the people who didn't cook, went to my favorite restaurant or the kids' favorite restaurant. They offered to cut the grass if that's what we needed. Each prayer, each visit, each card, each call, and each meal was a big blessing and a large part of the smiles I was able to have each day."
For those reasons we presented Jackie with a News 3 People Taking Action award, along with a $300 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank. Jackie was very grateful and said she organized the effort when she heard that Paulette was really sick, "It's what we do, we care about each other", she told me. Paulette says it's helping with her fight, "It was amazing--just amazing to me, it really was a blessing and it made me fight a little bit harder."