Brianna Falvey’s students did their homework, and she kept her promise.
The fourth-grade teacher, whose students recently achieved a year-long goal to complete their homework for 100 consecutive days, showed up at Wichita's Colvin Elementary School on Monday with hair as orange as a copper penny and a dress that would make Scarlett O’Hara swoon.
“The kids were actually silent, their jaws on the floor,” Falvey said. “Then they were all lined up taking photos.”
The bright fuchsia dress, with sequins on the bodice and a full tiered skirt, was a gift from the owner of Dress Gallery in Wichita, who said she was inspired by Falvey’s story.
“I thought it was just incredible that someone would go that extra mile and do that for the kids,” said April Huang, owner of the bridal and prom shop.
“I just wanted to pay it forward, because I had a teacher like that.”
Huang, who grew up in Taiwan, said she remembers a teacher she had when she was 10 – about the age of Falvey’s students. That teacher stayed after school most days to help students with their schoolwork or just wait with them until their parents could pick them up, Huang said.
“She didn’t have to do that. She wasn’t getting extra credit or extra pay to do it, but she did it anyway,” Huang said. “I will always remember that, and I remember her.”
Falvey’s trip to Huang’s store over the weekend was somewhat serendipitous. The shop owner had e-mailed Falvey about two months ago offering to donate a dress, but the e-mail landed in a spam folder and went unread.
When Falvey walked into the store on West Douglas on Saturday – her hair freshly dyed at a steep discount by the folks at Planet Hair – Huang spotted her and said, “Oh, you’re that teacher!”
They tried several dresses and finally decided on the fuchsia one, and Huang stayed past store hours to make a few adjustments so it fit just right. The dress, worth about $300, cost Falvey nothing.
“It’s like it was meant to be,” Huang said. “I have a lot of dresses, and it’s the end of (prom) season. I was just glad I got to help.”