NORTH BERGEN — Two McKinley School teachers traveled across the country to be on the "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" and came back with a surprise $50,000 donation.

The two $25,000 checks from DeGeneres and Walmart will be used by the school to build a library and media center.

Czar Wiley, a vice principal, said that it all started earlier this year with Read Across America when students responded in a poll that the person they would most like to read to them was DeGeneres.

Administrators and staff campaigned on social media to bring the popular daytime talkshow host to their school.

"We live in a community where we say it takes a village to raise a kid," he said. "When we started up we thought it would be a dream and nothing would come of it."

Sitting in the audience, DeGeneres surprised technology teacher Maria Morgana and Title 1 teacher Susan Saab. A film crew provided a live feed from the school.

"They inspire us by being themselves," Morgana said about their students. "We go into work and we know that we have to teach them reading and writing. They bring to us so much more than that. They might not come from much, but they have so much to give. If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is."

As a single mother teaching at-risk kids, Saab said she is committed to doing whatever she can to help her students.

"Teachers were just the best people in my life," she said. "The only way I was able to raise my children was by using my education. It really is what changes your situation in life."

One of the students was equally complimentary of his teachers.

"They are just amazing," Rafael said. "They do almost everything for us. This school can't be how it is without them and we can't pursue what we love without them."

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