An 8-year-old girl has moved many Chinese people when she said she would give braised shrimps from her school lunch to her sick mother in a video clip, and behind the loving girl is her school principal who takes good care of students.
The girl, Zhang Xiaoxiao, from the Erlangmiao Primary School in Taikang County, Zhoukou of Central China's Henan Province, had finished all vegetables and rice of the school lunch but left four shrimps in September.
When asked for the reason, the girl, with a clear smile and light in her eyes, said she would take the shrimps home for her mother Hu Mingjun who is in poor health and unable to do heavy work. Her father is a migrant worker.
Hu said she was proud of her daughter. "She said she could not eat them all, but she worries about me," Hu said. The daughter would also bring fruits and milk home but Hu would ask her to eat the food herself.
Zhang Pengcheng, the school principal, has played an important part in educating such a loving girl. His school has more than 180 students, a majority of whom are left-behind children, and some do not meet their parents even once a year.
Some children live in the school. Because some children are too young to live in school, he and his wife Tian Lige live with boys and girls separately. He just wants these children to grow up healthy in an atmosphere of love.
The principal understands the situation of the students' families and helps them. Though born in 1982, his hair has turned white and his students call him "principal papa" or "principal grandpa".
Besides the government subsidies, Zhang Pengcheng also spends his own money to buy food, such as shrimp and beef for the children. The school lunch has become the best meal for some children.
His original aspiration is: "If a child has not received sunshine, how can he/she illuminate others. If he/she has not received love, he/she has not experienced more tenderness, what can he/she do to love society and others?"
The principal's father was once a substitute teacher of the school. "He wanted me to learn more knowledge, and leave the rural area." In the beginning, Zhang chose to work outside after graduation from a normal school.
But when he found what happened to left-behind children through his own son, he determined to return to school. "As a left-behind child in the past, my first son's scores were bad, and many other left-behind children were like him."
He wanted the left-behind children to have good education even in villages. After decade-long effort, the school expanded from less than 30 children in the past to more than 180 children.
In the school with 10 faculty members, Zhang Pengcheng even worked as a purchaser, installer, electrician and cook, and he also acted as a part-time teacher of Chinese and English, though he's not an English major.
What made Zhang Pengcheng helpless was that children did not have special sports, music and art courses. He expected to have arts and sports teachers in his school.
When Zhang Xiaoxiao's story attracted public attention and netizens sent shrimps, new clothes and school things, some also paid attention to the school and volunteers came.
The school now has a full-time English teacher and three volunteer teachers giving children music and physical education courses. Qiao Kaili, an undergraduate of musicology major from Xinyang Normal University, is a volunteer music teacher.
There are new badminton nets and other sports facilities on campus. The construction of a new dormitory building has started and the building of a new canteen will also start soon.
Zhang Pengcheng said that children have a long way to go in their future life, and a good start is so important for them. No matter what career follow in the future, they will have a sound personality and good communication skills.
The principal recently fell down from the stairs and broke his right leg. Although using a wheelchair with the leg in a cast, he still pays attention to the study and life of children.
In the new year, Zhang Pengcheng has a wish: he hopes to take school teachers to participate in skill training and introduce more high-quality educational ideas. In the future, the school plans to receive more left-behind children in need of help.
Zhang Xiaoxiao, who lives in the school now, said she would strive for her best and would like to become a doctor when she grows up.
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