Teacher sets high bar in kindness and caring for students

Updated: Jan. 31, 2021 at 5:53 PM CST
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LAKE CITY, Ark. (KAIT) - The power of sharing positivity is an amazing thing--especially when students are the ones benefiting.

Linda Campbell makes sure students at Riverside High School are on the “receiving end” of lots of opportunities. In fact, it’s the hallmark of her teaching career that spans four decades... and she’s not stopping now.

“It’s also the building block to our success,” Campbell said as she spoke into a camera that was recording her presentation for a YouTube video.

It’s a Friday afternoon.

Campbell is working on a YouTube video encouraging her students to read when all of a sudden...

A long line of friends, family and fellow teaching colleagues enter the room socially distanced and masked.

“I understand that you are shooting a literacy video and we thought we might be able to help,” I said.

“Oh, my goodness!” Campbell says and her face turns just a bit red with excitement.

Linda Campbell was ecstatic to find out she had won the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.
Linda Campbell was ecstatic to find out she had won the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.(Source: KAIT-TV)

Her children, her mother, and husband, Buster Campbell who is also the school’s basketball coach, are all here.

Linda Campbell is surprised by her family including her daughters and mother.
Linda Campbell is surprised by her family including her daughters and mother.(Source: KAIT-TV)

“I love all these people! Oh, my goodness. I am so shocked,” Campbell says with great surprise.

“If you notice that a child’s not going to have a Christmas present, you’re right there taking it out of your own money. You got the extra mile, each and every day to make sure that they feel special,” I said as I explained to Campbell why we were all standing in front of her in the school library.

“Buster and Miss Linda have been like parents to me,” Erin Gibson explained. She nominated Campbell for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness sponsored by First Community Bank and KAIT.

Erin Gibson has witnessed the Campbells’ compassion firsthand after a breast cancer diagnosis.

“They had a son who was diagnosed with cancer,” Gibson said. “He battled childhood cancer. And so during my own cancer journey, Miss Linda and Buster both would say some of the sweetest sentiments, but you know they had been there. They had walked the path.”

Casey, the Campbell’s second child, and only son, died in 1987 after a year and a half at St. Jude.

“I really think you know God works in mysterious ways and I think it made me a better person,” Campbell said as she reflected on one of the most difficult times in her life. “We really had happy times with him because we lived like you were supposed to live... one day at a time and just didn’t worry about the next day, and just tried to be happy. And then he (God) blessed me with two little girls (after Casey died).”

“And that’s one thing about this community. We’ve been here 45 years and we were just like family,” Buster Campbell, Linda’s husband said. “They took care of us. So we’ve giving back. She is particularly.”

“Last year, I didn’t have hair when I started the school year and Miss Linda was so sweet to always encourage me and tell me how pretty I looked and so those things mean the world to me,” Gibson said.

Linda Campbell wants to see each and every student succeed...

“It’s like she’s their parent at school,” Shey Williams, who also nominated Campbell for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness, said. “Whatever she needed to do so that they would get their work done so that they wouldn’t get farther behind... sometimes it would annoy the students, but they always knew she has their best interest at heart.”

“If you know they love them, they’re gonna do it,” Campbell said. “They might not want to, but they’re gonna do it. They’re gonna try and they’re gonna do it and I’ve got two or three this year that’s got caught up and they were way behind.”

And nowhere could Linda’s heart be more revealed than in the school’s backpack program, where students in need receive food to eat over the weekend.

“I want the kids to love school and I want them to come and feel good about themselves,” Campbell said.

“And that is why you are the next winner in the Gr8 Acts of Kindness,” I said as I opened an envelope filled with $408 cash from First Community Bank.

“Well, thank you very much. I don’t know what to say,” Campbell said with tears in her eyes.

“One hundred, two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, five, six, seven, eight. Four hundred eight dollars! I said as I counted the cash into her hand.

“I want everybody to have what I have had. I want you to be happy,” Campbell said. “I want you to come to school and enjoy it!”

Her enthusiasm is infectious!

Every day, Linda Campbell shares her love of school with students. If you know someone like her, let us know about them for the Gr8 Acts of Kindness.

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