Thursday, March 19, 2009

This one brought tears to my eyes....but what doesn't these days!

I found this article brought tears to my eyes!

I can't imagine how I would feel if I didn't get to witness all Jackson's shining moments...even as he grows older. I'm so glad this mom will get to be there for her son's shining moment!

I'm usually not a Purdue fan...but I am now!

Enjoy the story!

Carmel school staff sends Purdue player's mom to Portland
Lafayette Journal & Courier

JaJuan's Lunch Ladies have made sure JaJuan Johnson's No. 1 fan will be in Portland today to watch Purdue play Northern Iowa in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

On Sunday, Rhonda Curlin attended what she thought was her last Purdue game this season. Curlin watched her son, sophomore forward JaJuan Johnson, lead the Boilermakers to the Big Ten tournament championship with a win over Ohio State at Indianapolis' Conseco Fieldhouse.
Her co-workers at Creekside Middle School in Carmel had other plans for Curlin when the NCAA tournament pairings were announced.

Upon learning that the nearly $600 cost of a flight to Portland, Ore., was going to keep Curlin from attending Purdue's games, Lynda Smith, the cafeteria manager at Creekside, went to work.

She found a flight for about $400 on Monday, went to work Tuesday morning and asked Curlin's co-workers in the cafeteria if they wanted to pitch in. Within 15 minutes -- with contributions from the lunch ladies, athletic director and custodial staff -- Smith had more than enough for an airline ticket. Johnson's godmother chipped in for a hotel room.
When Curlin arrived at 8:30 a.m. Smith handed her an envelope.

"I gave her the money and she ran to the restroom and cried," Smith said Wednesday. "She had to compose herself."

Curlin said she was overcome with emotion.
"I was so happy and surprised," Curlin said during a layover on her way to Portland.

"I had to excuse myself because I was so emotional. When I walked in and saw them all standing around I knew they were up to something. They are very special people."
Curlin received more contributions as the news from the cafeteria spread through the school.
"I had people coming up to me giving me $20, $50," Curlin said. "I am so blessed."
Johnson couldn't be happier to have his mom at today's game.

"It's a real nice thing," Johnson said before Wednesday's practice in the Rose Garden. "A lot of people wouldn't have done that. In today's society, especially with the way the economy is right now, it's just such a nice thing. My biggest fan is going to be here for the game. She is real excited. She called me right after they told her."

Earlier this season, Smith organized a bus trip for about 25 Creekside employees and their families to Purdue's game at Ball State. Curlin's co-workers held up "JaJuan's Lunch Ladies" signs during the game.

"We've got people here that weren't Purdue fans before but are now fans because of Rhonda," Smith said. "We've followed him all season."

Raising the money for Curlin, who drives a bus for the Carmel Clay School District and works in the Creekside cafeteria, was an easy sell.

"It all happened so fast," Smith said. "Several teachers heard about it later and wanted to get involved."

Perhaps they can pick up the tab to Phoenix if Purdue advances to the Sweet 16.

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