Students Offer Gesture of Kindness to Theft Victim

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WEST PITTSTON -- Students at a school in Luzerne County handed over money on Friday they collected to an 82-year-old woman from Exeter. The woman last week gave a ride to a mother and daughter from a grocery store and the two ended up swiping the older woman's purse.

A teacher at the Wyoming Area Catholic School saw our story last week and, like most people, felt bad for that elderly woman robbed while trying to do the right thing. So, she decided to try to make things right for that woman again and teach her students a valuable lesson.

Each nickel and dime was counted, totaling just over $400.

Pat Gayoski was grocery shopping at Gerrity's in West Pittston and noticed a mother and her daughter leaving the store with no ride home so she gave them one.

West Pittston police say the mother and daughter thanked Gayoski by stealing her purse with all the money she had in it.

"She's 82 and she tried to help somebody out. To then get taken advantage of, that shouldn't happen. So we thought it'd be a good idea to then turn that story into a good one," said seventh grade teacher Ali Baur.

Baur spoke to the principal at Wyoming Area Catholic School, and together they decided to do a dress-down day fundraiser. Students who usually wear uniforms got to dress in jeans and sneakers for one day by donating $2.

"Being a Catholic school, our goal is not only academics but to show the kids what's the right thing to do," said Baur.

"I donated because what goes around comes around, and this lady tried to help, so we are going to help her," said seventh-grader Lynzie Skoronski.

Once all the money was donated, the school called Pat Gayoski to tell her what everyone did, and asked her to come by and pick up the money.

"I hope she is really surprised and that she really thinks that there are people out there that care for her. And that even if she did get helped or something, we would always be there for her," said eighth-grader Karissa Benderavich.

There are only 167 students that go to that school so to raise $400, with everyone giving $2 that means every single student and faculty member pitched in to turn that elderly woman's week around.

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