WILLOW PARK -- Marsha Barber has a million reasons to be happy.
As administrator of Trinity Christian Academy in Willow Park, she has devoted the past couple of years to fundraising. The nondenominational school, which has more than 450 students from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, has been in the middle of a $6 million expansion project to accommodate growth.
So it shouldn't have come as a surprise when a couple called to request a meeting, saying they wanted to make a donation.
When the couple met with Barber last week, they chatted for a few minutes.
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"They asked a few questions," Barber said. "It appeared that they had done some research about the school."
What happened next startled the veteran educator.
"They just handed me a check like you or I would write out of our checkbook," Barber said. "I had been thinking this could be something really nice, but whatever it was, to be pleased with it.
"When I saw '$1 million,' it just took my breath away."
Barber said she couldn't speak at first: $1 million was just what the school needed to pay off what it had borrowed. It could finish a gymnasium and remaining construction at the school, which draws students from Fort Worth, Aledo, Weatherford and outlying areas.
The couple, Barber said, have asked to remain anonymous. But she said she had never met them before that day.
"They have no connection to the school," she said. "They don't have children here; they don't have grandchildren here. They just know some of the families that have children here."
Over the past 18 years, through her activity with the Association of Christian Schools International, an accrediting agency, Barber said, she had heard of one or two instances of a school receiving such a gift.
"I remember being happy for them but thinking that would never happen for me," Barber said. The donors "are listening to God and they are having more fun, I think, just going around and blessing people."
Barber was in for another surprise that day. After going on a tour, the couple came back and wrote another check for $100,000 for another project.
"They were the sweetest couple, and you could tell their faces were glowing at how much they got a kick out of seeing my reaction," Barber said.
"We told the school board the next night and grown men cried. We all had goose bumps -- we just couldn't believe it."
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