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Dorchester Teacher Donates $150,000 Prize To Her School03:08

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BOSTON — Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Monday honored a Dorchester third grade teacher who won a $150,000 online contest and donated the prize to her school.

Back around Thanksgiving, 26-year-old Nikki Bollerman casually entered an online contest called the #WishForOthers campaign.

"My #WishForOthers is that my vivacious, loving third-grade scholars all took a book home with them over December break," Bollerman recounted at City Hall Monday.

Contest sponsor Capitol One funded three books per kid, and then went further, awarding Bollerman one of the contest's grand prizes of $150,000. Bollerman promptly donated the proceeds to her school, which got the attention of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

"I want to thank Nikki for your kindness and your humility, and you are certainly a shining example of great things to the city of Boston," Walsh said. "We are grateful for your hard work and generosity. You have inspired lots of people with your selfless act."

UP Academy Dorchester is a year-old public charter school that's orchestrated a significant turnaround in achievement for its 700 students. In that year, students at the once-failing school raised their MCAS proficiency scores in math and English language arts the most of any school in the state's history.

Some of Bollerman's students were at City Hall Monday to cheer her on as she was thanked by top city brass for her own remarkable act.

“We’re Tigers, so what are our tiger values?” Bollerman asked her students.

“Teamwork, integrity, grit, engagement, respect,” they responded.

“And what is a life lesson I tell you about grit?” she said.

“It means to work hard and never give up,” her students said.

Bollerman — who seems the paragon of the energized and idealistic young schoolteacher, the kind students remember all their lives — says she never really thought twice about what to do with the winnings.

"To me there was no other real option. I mean, I wished for it for the kids. Where else would it go other than them?" she said. "As you can see they are so wonderful, and I just wanted it to go to them."

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