Teacher with inoperable heart tumor surprised by students with bucket list

Students in Washington surprised their teacher battling cancer, with a “life goals” list. (Photo: YouTube/King 5)
Students in Washington surprised their teacher battling cancer, with a “life goals” list. (Photo: YouTube/King 5)

A teacher with an inoperable heart tumor was surprised with the ultimate “life-goals” list from her beloved students.

Dorrie Coleman, a 15-year art teacher at Puyallup High School in Washington, has battled and beat Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma twice. She was recently diagnosed with a heart tumor that, according to Seattle news station King 5, is growing.

In February, students in a philanthropy class led by English teacher Jamie Mooring wanted to lift Coleman’s spirits so they decided to surprise her with a list of dream goals.

To keep Coleman in the dark, Mooring told staff members that she was teaching her students about wish lists and asked her colleagues, including Coleman, to submit out-of-the-box suggestions to use as examples in class. “We knew Dorrie would have tons of ideas and we wanted her to write her own list,” Mooring tells Yahoo Lifestyle.

Coleman submitted a list of the following activities: flying on a glider, visiting NASA, vacationing at a beach house, fighting in a lightsaber battle, and, as a huge Star Wars fan — her car and classroom are decorated in film paraphernalia — meeting George Lucas. Behind the scenes, students worked to enact the list, for example, calling a local glider company to arrange a free lesson.

On Monday, during a routine staff meeting, several of Mooring’s students helped reveal the surprise. “She was speechless,” says Mooring.

The gesture was second-nature for the 41 leadership students who, as an elective, take the course to create a positive school culture. “We run food drives, run a large blood drive, and gather donations for local families,” says Mooring.

Coleman is thrilled with her to-do list. “I’m very excited to represent the Dark Side in a lightsaber battle like I’m shaking inside because of it,” she told King 5, adding, “I’ve always known I belonged to an amazing community. The fact that I know they came together to do this for me, it doesn’t surprise me. It just makes my heart swell up even more.”

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