While most school kids might rush out the door when the bell rings for summer, 11-year-old Cody Dortch wanted his teachers to know just how much he’d appreciated their hard work over the year.
So as a last goodbye before moving on to middle school, the Edmond, Oklahoma, youngster surprised his teachers and their families with a fancy dinner, and paid for it all using his hard-earned cash.
Ten months ago, Cody started performing extra household chores for his parents and neighbors, babysitting his siblings and asking for donations. He eventually saved up $200 to take seven of his eight teachers to the popular Oklahoma chain Inner Urban.
Dortch’s mom Ashley told InsideEdition.com that Cody was inspired to treat his teachers after one of his best friend’s older brothers was killed last year.
“The boy who was killed always had the motto, ‘I get to do something,’ not ‘I have to do something,’ so Cody was inspired to do something not because he had to, but because he could,” she said.
Cody told InsideEdition.com that he was also motivated by the dedication his teachers have shown him over the years.
“I wanted to take them out to dinner because my dad’s a teacher and I know how much he works and how much he does for other kids so I wanted to say they’re good for what they do,” he said.
“Cody’s dad TJ is an AP chemistry teacher at a local high school and there’s a lot his dad has to miss to teach and tutor other students,” his mom added. “The whole family sees how hard dad works for his students so Cody wanted to say thank you because he knows how hard his teachers have worked for him. Instead of looking at his dad missing things as a downside he saw that as a positive that his teachers also do that.”
When Cody presented the educators with surprise invitations to his dinner in April, they were overwhelmed. Cody’s teacher Marci McVay said they were all touched by his thoughtfulness.
At the end of the dinner Cody presented each of his teachers with a flower and told them: “Dinner is on me.”
“There were a lot of times I wanted to spend my money on the other stuff, but I’m also happy that I got to see how my teachers liked it,” said Cody.
When Cody grows up he wants to be a rollercoaster engineer. As for now, he’s staying humble amid the unexpected attention.
“I’m just proud of myself for seeing it through for so long,” said Cody.