Brewer Elementary School teacher raises money to give her students 77 free books through DonorsChoose.org

The students in Amelia Hall's first-grade class at Brewer Elementary School opened their gift bags full of books with smiles and squeals of delight like it was Christmas morning.

Their reaction was a present in return to Hall.

"It's great to see them so excited about this," Hall said at Thursday morning's celebration in the school's media center. "All the hard work has paid off."

Hall's work was made easier by the generous folks who helped her buy 77 books for her students to take home. They raised $550 through DonorsChoose.org. The nonprofit website, founded in 2000, is where teachers can describe educational projects and donors can choose which ones to support. The website says it has generated $71 million and benefited more than 5 million students.

Muscogee County teachers have raised $131,000 to fund 283 projects, but Hall is the first one to use DonorsChoose.org at Brewer.

Cenobia Moore, the school's principal, praised Hall for continuing to seek ways to serve her students.

"I am proud of any of our teachers who choose to do for our children," Moore said. Then to Hall, she added, "Thank you so much for loving your children, our children."

Cierra Tandy was among

the parents in attendance.

She said she tries to read as much as she can with her 6-year-old daughter, Danielle Bentley, and these books will help.

"A lot of parents probably can't afford to have books at home," Tandy said.

That's why Hall implored the parents to make good use of the donated books. And she hammered home that message by leading the students in a song.

It said in part, "We are readers, the future leaders."