There are power in words. But 13-year-old Vidal Chastanet probably didn’t think that telling Humans of New York blogger Brandon Stanton about his amazing principal would result in over a million bucks for his Brownsville, Brooklyn elementary school. Yet, that’s exactly what happened.
As reported by the Huffington Post, Stanton, whose Humans of New York photo blog is one of the most popular on the net, stopped the young scholar on the streets two weeks ago and inquired: “Who’s the most influential person in your life?” Castanet revealed that his principal, Nadia Lopez, was the most impactful figure he knew because she encourages her students to believe in themselves.
“When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us,” he said. “She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”
When Stanton posted Chastanet’s response to his Facebook page, it became an instant hit. Intrigued by the story, Stanton took a trip to Mott Hall Bridges Academy to meet with Lopez, and the two eventually came up with the idea to start a fundraiser to send the MHBA students to Harvard; naming the fundraiser The Vidal Scholarship Fund, after the young man who inspired it.
Launched on Thursday, January 22 with a goal of $100,000, the fundraiser has far surpassed everyone’s expectations as it has reached $1,204,148 as of today.
The first student in line to receive a college scholarship from The Vidal Fund? You guessed it: Mr. Chastanet himself.
To donate to this fundraiser, click here.