When one teacher a surprising note at the bottom of his best students test paper, he was incredibly touched.

A teacher in Kentucky recently shared the heartwarming story of one of his best students acting selflessly for the benefit of his peers. 

The Surprising Note a Student Left on His History Test

person taking an exam in a classroom
Photo by Andy Barbour

Winston Lee is an 11th grade teacher who loves seeing his students succeed. Recently, he gave his class a history test on World War II. As part of the structure of the test, he offered the opportunity to gain five bonus points with an extra question.

He knew his best students would take advantage of the chance to get an even higher grade, but what he didn’t anticipate was that one student in particular would use the bonus as a chance to help out a peer. 

“One of my guys, a straight A+ guy, offers up his 5 bonus points to someone in need. Totally offering up what is rightfully his, his earning, to any peer that may have been struggling especially hard the day of the test,” Lee said.

One of Lee’s best students turned in his test with a surprising note at the bottom. It asked Lee to please give his bonus points to the student in the class with the lowest grade. His grade of 94% could have been raised to 99% if he kept the bonus points, but he wanted to give them away.

Knowing it wouldn’t be fair to give the points to a student who failed because they simply didn’t care enough to study, Lee considered giving the points to a student who had scored low on the test, but who had attended the review session offered. An experienced teacher, Lee knew that there were many reasons somebody might fail a test even though they deserved to pass.

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With that in mind, he was happy to oblige by his straight A student’s wishes and pass the points along to someone in need. The student who got the bonus points was able to raise her grade from a failing one to a passing one — all thanks to 5 points! 

“[The student]  was really thankful so it turned out great. She does not know who gave her the points,” Lee added.

How a Straight A+ Student Proves the Importance of Empathy

person studying papers for an exam
Photo by cottonbro

Lee shared the touching story on social media, where it went viral, garnering over 76,000 likes and 55,000 shares. However, the post was met with mixed responses. Many people were touched and impressed by the student’s generosity, but others felt that points shouldn’t be given to those who hadn’t earned them.

“Not all are great test takers or in a comfortable situation at home that allows them to focus on studying. I feel really great that it helped this student from 58 points to passing. We don’t know what her situation may have been,” Lee explained.

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Many of Lee’s students are from low income households and they don’t all have the same support that his straight A students have. 

The story is a great lesson in empathy and putting yourself in another person’s shoes. You never know what the person next to you might be going through — there is power in giving them the benefit of the doubt and offering as much support as you can to help them succeed.


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