13-Year-Old Whose Words Helped Raise $1M For His Brooklyn School Visits White House

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Remember the Brooklyn school kid whose brief man-on-the-street type interview with the popular Humans Of New York blog wound up raising his school more than $1 million via a fundraiser launched by the blog? Blogger Brandon Stanton, Vidal Chastanet and his Mott Hall Bridges Academy principal Nadia Lopez, whom he praised to the blog, wound up with an invitation to the White House.

Chastanet even had the chance to sit in the President’s chair in the Oval Office and chat with Obama.

Originally posted February 4, 2015



One day blogger/photographer Brandon Stanton, who is behind the Internet’s most popular photo blogs Humans of New York, stopped 13-year-old student named Vidal Chastanet and asked “Who’s influenced you most in your life?” Little did anyone know that Chastanet’s response would result in his helping raise more than $1 million for his Brownsville, Brooklyn, school.

Chastanet’s answer, which was posted on the blog, was:”My principal, Ms. Lopez.”  And when Stanton asked: “How has she influenced you?”

Chastanet said: “When we get in trouble, she doesn’t suspend us. She calls us to her office and explains to us how society was built down around us. And she tells us that each time somebody fails out of school, a new jail cell gets built. And one time she made every student stand up, one at a time, and she told each one of us that we matter.”

Money to the school poured in. And last week, Mott Hall Bridges Academy principal Nydia Lopez told her 195 students that a school fundraiser to send the Brooklyn middle schoolers on a trip to Harvard had not only reached its $100,000 goal, but had raised more than $700,000, reports The Huffington Post.

Soon after that, the donations increased to $1,179,873.

The scholars of MHBA are inspiring the entire world,” Lopez said during a recent school assembly. “People have written me letters from New Zealand, England and South Africa, telling me that they care about you.”

A little #HumpDay #inspiration for you.

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