A group of high school students in Oklahoma have learned a valuable lesson about the boomerang effect of a good deed.
Earlier this week, after Quapaw was hit by a deadly EF-2 tornado, teenagers in the town donated the $2,000 they raised for their senior class trip to the relief effort. The kids also spent Friday, the day of their trip, cleaning up the devastation in the storm's path.
"The people down at city hall, they just started crying. It touched them so much they wanted to give that money back to the community," high school principal Terry Tyree said.
It also led to an outpouring of support the students never could have imagined.
People in Quapaw who were touched by their kindness raised $35,000 for the kids to go on a right of passage – their senior trip.
They were surprised with a check presentation on Friday.
After a morning of helping with cleanup, the students thought they were gathering back at the school for lunch.
As the entire student body showed up in the gym, instead of pizza, they got the surprise of their young lives.
One by one, the names of companies and people who donated money were announced. Those seniors still wondered what was going on.
Among those names called were eighth-graders at Kenwood schools, who raised money along with about two dozen other donors.
"The donations kept coming and coming," eighth-grader Teri Leaf said.
None of the seniors ever saw it coming.
The students won't spend all the money on the trip, which they'll go on in a couple of weeks.
Most will still go to help tornado victims. They're even thinking about creating a scholarship fund.
They'll figure it out once they get over the shock.
"I can't stop crying looking at everybody; it's amazing," senior Shaekotah Bass said.
Not only is there plenty of money for their senior trip, they're all getting donated Six Flags tickets and the use of a charter bus was donated, so they won't have to take a school bus.
Most of all, they're getting the amazing feeling of what it's like to be on the receiving end of the same kind of generosity they showed.
"It just shows that even in a small town, big things can happen," senior Andrew Bayliss said.
School leaders are asking donations from this point on be given to the Citizens Relief Fund for Quapaw at the First State Bank of Commerce.
Relief efforts continue in Quapaw, where the tornado dropped down without warning on Sunday about 5:30 p.m. and damaged many homes and businesses in the small town's center.
One man died in his car during the tornado.