South Jersey Students Continue to Light Up Evangeline's World

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Third grade students brought in more than 100 books to send to Evangeline for her parents to read to her while going through treatment. Third grade students brought in more than 100 books to send to Evangeline for her parents to read to her while going through treatment.
UPPER DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, N.J. -

The story of four-year-old Evangeline Tietjen has been flooding the internet since she was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor in November.

Once she started going through treatment, she asked for one thing — a holiday wish — and that’s to read.

“That’s why I want to light up Evangeline’s world with books,” said a third-grade student at Deerfield Township Elementary School.

Evangeline grew up in Vineland, so most of the students and teachers at Deerfield Township Elementary have never met her and only know her story through the media.

That didn’t stop the class from wanting to help.

After two weeks, the third-grade students brought in more than 100 books to send to Evangeline for her parents to read to her while going through treatment. The teachers also came up with a project called, “Light Up Evangeline’s World with Kindness” where each student wrote a kind message to Evangeline on a paper light bulb.

When we have these opportunities to do projects like this, that’s what’s going to resonate with them, and [what] they’re going to take into their adulthood.

“It’s something that we had seen as a project and we just kind of tweaked it to make it special for Evangeline," said third-grade teacher Courtney Tucker. "And the kids wrote messages like, ‘Evangeline, I hope your Christmas wishes come true,’ ‘I hope you make it home for Christmas,’ ‘You are so brave,’ ‘You’re an inspiration to me.’

“They really just wrote messages to kind of give her a little boost and to make her smile. And they may never get to meet Evangeline, but they know that what they did in their hearts for her, and hopefully it will make her heart even bigger, too.”

The goal was to have the students understand that the holidays are for giving, and that some holiday traditions are made for taking care of others.

Tucker and the other teachers had the chance to teach something that couldn’t be found in a textbook.

“When we have these opportunities to do projects like this, and to take time away from the paper-pencil day, and give them something a lot more, that’s what’s going to resonate with them, and [what] they’re going to take into their adulthood,” said Tucker.

“Giving is an important part of the holiday because it shows the true spirit of Christmas,” said a third grade student.

“A really special book that we got for Evangeline from all of us here at Deerfield [Elementary School] in the third grade is I Wish You More," said Tucker. "And we wrote Evangeline a really special note and it says, ‘Evangeline, your story was such an inspiration to our students, that we came together and collected you your big wish. Enjoy these books as small token of our hearts to wish you the very best as you make a quick, speedy recovery. With prayers, love and hugs, Mrs. Tucker, Mrs. Blewitt, and Mrs. Scythes and your third grade friends at Deerfield Township School.'”

To learn more about Evangeline’s journey and to help support her and her family, go to her GoFundMe page at GoFundMe.com/Love-For-Lena.

Related: The Birthday Book Project 


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