Winston Lee is a history teacher teaching 11th-graders in Letcher County Central High School in Whitesburg, Kentucky. While he was marking one of the scripts for a history exam on World War 2, a note written below the multiple-choice answers caught his eye.
In the note, the student wrote, “If you could, can you give my bonus points to whoever scores the lowest?”
The student had gained five bonus points from participating in an exam review game the day before the test. With those five points, his test score would have increased from 94 percent to 99 percent.
“The guy is awesome,” Lee said, according to Bored Panda. “We’ve had huge political debates in class this year (we keep it friendly), and my man always has some awesome, intelligent input.”
But Lee was moved by his student’s selflessness. “Most honor students cling to every point possible!” he said.
Lee decided to accede to his student’s request. “No doubt a peculiar situation, but the points are his and he wishes to kindly gift them to someone else,” he said. “Honored and granted!”
He awarded the bonus points to a girl who scored 58 percent. With those points, she made the passing grade of 60 percent.
“She was really thankful so it turned out great,” Lee said. “She does not know who gave her the points.”
Lee shared a shot of his student’s note on Facebook on Feb 21. Within a few days, his post had garnered more than 76,000 likes, 55,000 shares, and thousands of comments.
Many praised the student’s kind gesture. Seeing how some students struggle so hard yet still score near the bottom, “this young person showed empathy and generosity toward another classmate,” Janice Davis said. “What a wonderful thing it is to bring joy to another.”
However, some did not agree. Kevin LaFreniere said, “giving away points to someone who didn’t earn them doesn’t really help the person.”
Regarding the girl who received the points, Lee said, “She was grateful for the mystery points and I pray she pays it forward.”
Was it the “correct classroom procedure?”
Lee said, “I’m not sure. Is being led by compassion, kindness, and love, ever considered a wrong answer? Oddly enough, the student has taught the lesson.”
Lee had been teaching for 12 years, and this was the first time he received such a request from a student, he told Good Morning America.
“This note gave me so much hope. Let us all be a little more like this young man!!”
Letcher County Central High School is a public high school teaching grades 9–12. It receives federal funds for needy students.