A South Brunswick middle school class got a huge surprise thanks to a 13-year-old classmate. Emilee Slisky’s language arts class had been reading the S.E. Hinton book "The Outsiders" and she, like so many kids her age, was completely taken with it. A story about teenagers written by a teenager.

The story was made into a movie with an all-star cast in the 80’s and actor C. Thomas Howell played the lead of Ponyboy. Emilee got the idea of going through the Cameo website which offers stars who will do short personalized videos for money. She found C. Thomas Howell and with the help of her principal and another teacher requested the actor make a video as a surprise for her language arts teacher and classmates. The three were the only ones in on it.

Howell got back to Emilee a day later with the most perfect video. She then did a surprise Zoom presentation of video for her teacher Jennifer Kleid and the rest of her 7th grade class.

“I got a beautiful message from one of the students, Miss Emilee,” the actor explained in the three and a half minute Cameo video. “She wanted to thank the staff for sharing 'The Outsiders' this year and really helping cope with some of the duties of hybrid teaching and the struggles that come with that. It’s been a difficult year - a difficult time.”

In another portion of the video he recites Robert Frost’s Nothing Gold Can Stay which plays a prominent part in the novel. “It’s a perfect poem. The meanings and those words and phrases all changed as I grew and aged. When I was younger, I didn’t really have the life experience to understand what that poem truly means. I hadn’t experienced pain or loss or irony or the things in life that I didn’t understand.”

He ended the video wishing all the students well and closed it out with the words, “stay gold.”

To say the kids were shocked and in a good way is an understatement. As much as it meant to the kids, and perhaps because of the very thing Howell talked about regarding life experience, it seems to have possibly meant even more to Emilee’s teacher.

Kleid told mycentraljersey.com, “Whenever I think of Nothing Gold Can Stay I am going to think of the gift that Emilee gave to us. It is a little piece of history now that is going to ‘stay gold’ because she made it happen. I love my job. And this has been the hardest year of my life, as it has been for many career wise.

But this - this is my bonus.”

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski. Any opinions expressed are Jeff Deminski's own.

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