As if Kindergartners could get any cuter, students in Kindergarten classes at Tennessee elementary school decided to surprise their hard of hearing custodian by learning “Happy Birthday” in sign language. The song was caught on video by the school nurse, Angela Ridner, where one can see the man’s heartwarming reaction.
School custodian James Anthony, also known as Mr. James, has been part of Hickerson Elementary School in Tullahoma, Tennessee for 15 years. He has worked in the Coffee County School system since 1991 and is partially deaf, but can read lips. Anthony had just celebrated his 60th birthday, which is why the students and their teachers wanted to give the partially deaf custodian a very special birthday gift. Safe to say by his reaction, he was pretty well surprised!
The kindergartners learned how to sign the song with the help from their teachers, Mrs. Allyssa Hartsfield and Mrs. Amy Hershman, and teacher aid Shelly Lucas. The heartwarming video was posted to the school’s Facebook page, where one can see Anthony walking into a room where the group of children were anxiously waiting to surprise him.
A few of the adults then begin to sing and guide the students along, signing with them. Anthony immediately exclaims and is in a state of shock with a stunned smile, grinning as wide as he can. The Tennessean janitor said the student’s gesture “touched his heart.” According to principle Jimmy Anderson, the Tennessee kindergartners always enjoy the company of Mr. James and love when he’s around. He teaches the children sign language every now and them, and teaches them good manners and “how to treat people”. Safe to say Mr. James is a great role model for the students!
Make sure to always celebrate those who do so much for you, like the way these kids did for this wonderful man. I’m sure it was definitely a more memorable birthday.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 25, 2018.