Recently, the TODAY show has been running a segment titled “TODAY Loves Teachers,” a special series marking Teacher Appreciation Week. Most recently, TODAY Show anchor Hoda Kotb profiled a Maverick alum who has launched her own TV series from her basement.
Betsy Thomas is a school librarian at Kooser Elementary School in Lincoln. She graduated from UNO's College of Education in 2012 with a degree in Secondary Education with a school library concentration.
As students have been kept from the classroom due to COVID-19, Thomas has donned dozens of costumers to help create “Mrs. Thomas’ Daily Story Time” from her home. From pirates to ninjas, even farmers and factory workers, Thomas has done everything – even hopping into tractors and forklifts - to tell her students entertaining stories while they’re stuck at home.
“It feels like we’re sitting down onto the carpet and listening to her read a story,” one student commented. “She basically brings the library to us.”
“I just thought, ‘what can I do?’ I’m just sitting here at home,” Thomas told Kotb on TODAY. “So I just made a quick little pirate video and then the ball kind of rolled out of control.”
Kotb, along with Spirit Halloween, donated 40 costumes to Thomas so she could continue to treat her kids to videos all throughout the summer. Spirit Halloween also gave the librarian a $1,000 gift card so she canother supplies she needs to keep this going as long as she can.
However, the surprises for Thomas didn’t stop there.
The TODAY show also arranged to have the Maverick alumna was surprised by dozens of children and their parents from Kooser Elementary, many of them wearing costumes from Thomas’ videos to express their thanks and tell her how much they missed her.
“This is why we do it,” Thomas told Kotb, pointing to the students in her lawn. “That’s why all teachers do it; because of the kids. They’re what matter.”
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.