Tyler Perry surprises Ohio middle school
BOSTON (WHDH)--Mary Mulvany was on a mission once she heard families could not afford the "play to participate" fees a school district in Ohio had put in place three years ago.
"We have students that tell us that you know I am not going out for the team because I can't. We don't have the money," said Mary Mulvany, teacher, at Finland Middle School.
So Mulvany started the foundation called “success beyond the classroom,” it helps find the money students need so they can be on a team or sing in the choir. There was even an HBO special about the work she was doing at Finland Middle School.
Actor, producer, writer Tyler Perry, best known for his character Madea, saw the special and contacted Mulvany wanting to help.
"So I think he is a man who embodies giving back and I am thinking that's why he is here today that he has a desire to do that," Mulvany said.
Mulvany orchestrated a school assembly so Perry could come visit the kids. Students were only told there was going to be a guest speaker.
"When the camera crews start coming in we were like oh what is about to happen, and then this girl beside me she was like keep watching that door someone is going to walk through," said 8th grader, Carl Celestine.
And she was right. Students were surprised, some even cried, but they all listened to the message Perry shared.
"How many of you have hopes and dreams and goals and things you want to do? Listen, don't let anybody stop you," said Tyler Perry.
Perry told the crowd of 700 students how he grew up in a rough neighborhood with no opportunities and how these students have inspired him to give back.
"It's pretty sad it's the first thing that gets cut because we don't know the far reaching affects because it is cut and the things that it causes, the problems that it causes long term,” Perry said.
After a performance by the choir Perry posed for pictures and before he left he handed over a check for $100,000 dollars.
Perry said he wanted part of the money to help the success beyond the classroom foundation and the rest to go back into the school.
“Hundreds of kids will be helped by what he did today and not just now but the opportunity to play sports and belong to something, carries into your adulthood,” Mulvany said.