Surprise! Fort Worth’s Como students, staff get shout out from Ellen and $50,000 too

Fort Worth math teacher Thomas Mayfield inspires students with music — a practice he’s captured in a series of videos he produces.

This week, those efforts received the attention of Ellen DeGeneres, who gave the school a shout out on her show scheduled to air Tuesday afternoon: “I love when my viewers send me videos and I really love the ones I receive from an elementary school near Dallas, Texas. They make music videos with their students and have been trying to get my attention all year long.”

Mayfield’s collaborations have brought educators, students and volunteers together to sing about student success, math, female empowerment and the importance of attending college.

The videos have also featured performances from students at the Leadership Academy at Como Elementary, a Title I campus that serves students living below the federal poverty line.

Mayfield, Como Principal Valencia Rhines and school counselor Tomeka McGee attended the show as guests this week. The trio was called down from the audience for an interview.

The educators told DeGeneres how students worked to improve academic performance. They were surprised with a live shot of their students and two checks totaling $50,000.

One $20,000 check will help stock the campus food pantry. That donation came courtesy of Cheerios. Another $30,000 will pay for laptops for students.

“I’m so so happy for our community, students, staff, parents and also for the entire district of Fort Worth I.S.D,” Mayfield said in a text message. “We are so grateful to Ellen, Cheerios, Box Tops and the entire Ellen Show staff for being so transparent and awesome!”

The show will air at 3 p.m. Tuesday on KXAS Channel 5.

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram