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Teacher handed $10,000 gift from former student

Most teachers would be happy to receive a simple “thank you” from a former student, but one teacher in the US was handed a $10,000 cheque from an ex-pupil as a gift for her hard work.

Marilyn Mecham, who taught at Parkway Central High School in Missouri, was given the unexpected gift by Kevin Perz, whom she taught in a home economics class back in the 1970s.

According to the former teacher, who has since moved to Nebraska, she received a phone call from Mr Perz who had spent years trying to track her down to tell her how much he appreciated her as a teacher.

Ms Mecham said receiving the phone call was special enough, but two days later she received a cheque for $10,000 in the post.

“I was so appreciative to have somebody spend all that time looking for you to tell that you meant so much in their life,” she told ABC News in the US.

Mr Perz, who runs his own engineering business outside Kansas City, said he made the gesture to say thank you for her work as a first year teacher back in 1977.

In a handwritten note that came with the cheque, the former student said: “I enjoyed your class so much. You gave your students latitude and respect. In turn, you were showered with respect and appreciation.”

The money, he wrote, was “intended to be 100 per cent used on you and your personal life. I would be sad if you didn't spend it all on yourself”.

Ms Mecham said she hoped to use the money to travel to her ancestral homelands of Norway and Sweden.

It is the third time Mr Perz has given such a generous gift. Back in 1992 he tracked down his former calculus teacher and gave him $5,000. Then three years ago he went further and gave his business teacher $10,000.

Speaking after his most recent bout of generosity, Mr Perz said: "Everybody in their life can always think back to someone in their life who had an impact, if it's a teacher or a boy scout leader or anyone.”

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Beware of pupils bearing presents - 29 May 2014

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