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Ellen steps in to help Detroit school with $500,000 donation

Students, staff at Spain Elementary Middle-School get big surprise

DETROIT – It's the first look at a surprise so big only Ellen could pull it off. 

On today's "Ellen" show, students and staff from Detroit's Spain Elementary-Middle School will be on the receiving end of Ellen's generosity. 

"Hello Spain Elementary. I wanted to surprise you. I love your school. I love what you stand for. So I just wanted to say hi," said Ellen.

Ellen did a lot more than say "hi." She recognized the terrible conditions Spain is in and wanted to help. 

"Almost all of their technology does not work. Their entire roof is falling apart. Their gym is completely shut down," she said.

Local 4's cameras were rolling Wednesday night when the filming happened. Students and staff thought they were going to be part of a documentary that the show was making -- not a chance. 

"We thought we were just coming to talk about school and conditions, and then all of this happened, and we just nearly exploded because it's just amazing," said Principal Ronald Alexander. 

Ellen delivered the news from students and staff from her LA studio with the help of Justin Beiber and Lowe's. The grand total is $500,000 for the school. 

This is the biggest donation ever given by Ellen. The teachers at Spain also all received $100 gift cards. 

"Today is the best day of my educational career," said Alexander. 

Alexander said the money can repair the roof, floor and gym. 

"Anything we need to have done in this building, we're going to get it done," he said. 

Students chanted "Ellen! Ellen!" after Alexander gave everyone the good news. 

Parents delightfully surprised

"It's just a wonderful thing," said Beatrice Spears, who has three kids at the school. "It's just amazing to see that someone is finally stepping up. And she's not even a Detroit resident."

Natasha Pickett said it means a lot for the school. 


"Better education, better books ... just everything as a whole. Different electives, different programs.

Deandre Ragsdale said this means a better opportunity for his son. 

"My daughter goes here as well. So I am very glad to know this. That just sparked my day. Thank you Ellen!" he said. 

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