Oftentimes, there are things that happen in life that we have no control over, which is a scary and helpless feeling, especially when it comes to tragedies.
In the wake of a tragedy, it's easy to let yourself be consumed with how much better your life would be if it had never occurred, but ruminating on these thoughts can ultimately be harmful to one's mental health.
And while you might not have any control over something like a loved one dying, you do have control over how you react to it.
The same principle applies to how you react to a tragedy that occurs in someone else's life. Although there are few things that you can do to take that person's pain away, what you can do is help create new, happy memories that they can enjoy.
Which is exactly what these students did for their gym teacher, Mr. Groark.
The Washington Township teacher was mourning his wife's recent miscarriage that occurred 4 months into her pregnancy - it was her fifth miscarriage in six year. The emotional burden was one that weighed heavily on the educator.
"I’ve dealt with my share of heartbreak. I can’t bring it to school and not show it. Everybody grieves and acts differently. For me, talking about it helps me," Groark told the Courier Post.
One day, right as he was starting his 2nd period class, he saw an envelope on his desk addressed to him - a gift from his students. Groark expected a simple gesture from his students.
"I thought it would be a card and a note, with maybe a Dunkin' Donuts gift card," Groark said.
However, the die-hard Philadelphia 76ers fan was blown away by what he found in the envelope - a touching message from his students along with two tickets to watch his favorite basketball team play.
Last month, our gym teacher’s wife had her 5th miscarriage 4 months into her pregnancy. After seeing how devasted he was, our class decided to pitch in for Sixers tix for him and his wife to show our gratitude. Enjoy the game, Mr. Groark :-)!! You and your wife deserve it ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Q5TqnAyEZR— tina (@anhtinah0) February 28, 2018
"We saw how much Mr. Groark was hurting, and we wanted to do something. We knew he loved the Sixers," said Tina Ho, a student in Groark's class.
This is the touching message they wrote to their gym teacher:
"Dear Mr. Groark,
We are so sorry to hear about the devastating news about your child. We are all heartbroken. We know you are in a very tough place right now and we want to show our thanks for you using this situation as an example and teaching us "keep your head up even when life hits rock bottom." We came together and pitched in for tickets for you and your wife. Hope this takes your mind off things for a bit and enjoy the game. Go Sixers!
Your 2nd period class.
When Groark read the note and saw what his students did for him, he was overwhelmed by their gesture.
So overwhelmed that he had to leave the class for a second to collect himself and keep his feelings in check.
People were floored by the gesture of the students.
Please give my best wishes for your gym teacher and his wife. Kindness is the greatest gift guys. I am so proud of today’s youth.— Tan Knockwood (@TheTanKnockwood) March 5, 2018
Word of their kindness spread quickly.
I’m crying 😫❤️— stephanie (@stephanie_monde) February 28, 2018
It eventually reached the ears of the 76ers themselves. In just two days time, Groark returned to class with a surprise for the students himself.
The surprise was that him and his wife weren't going to attend the basketball game alone.
That's right, once the 76ers heard of Mr. Groark's story, his 2nd period class of 22 students were all given free tickets to attend the game with their gym teacher.
Now that's awesome.