WATCH: Reba McEntire Surprises Kansas Teacher With $10,000 Donation & Free Concert Tickets

One of Reba McEntire’s biggest fans just received the surprise of a lifetime! Katie Banks-Todd, a passionate drama teacher from El Dorado, Kansas, was honored during one of her recent shifts at school. Unbeknownst to her, she was the winner…

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Melinda Lorge

Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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Posted on January 18, 2023

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Katie Banks-Todd, Reba McEntire; Photo Courtesy of One Country/YouTube

One of Reba McEntire’s biggest fans just received the surprise of a lifetime! Katie Banks-Todd, a passionate drama teacher from El Dorado, Kansas, was honored during one of her recent shifts at school. Unbeknownst to her, she was the winner of a prize. And she received that prize from the three-time GRAMMY winner, McEntire herself.

McEntire teamed up with One Country to give Banks-Todd a check worth $10,000 to go toward her school’s music/arts program. Banks-Todd was also given a bonus gift – concert tickets to McEntire’s show at Intrust Bank Arena. The giveaway was all part of One Country’s Ultimate Christmas Giveaway, which pays it forward to a deserving teacher that makes a difference by supporting music and arts education in rural communities.

A video posted on the charitable giveaway company’s website shows the sweet moment when Banks-Todd gets pulled away from her drama classroom to receive the heartwarming surprise.

Reba McEntire Surprises Teacher With $10,000 Donation To Her School’s Music/Arts Program

YouTube video

In this clip, as shown above, kids can be seen inside the El Dorado High School commons, waiting for Banks-Todd to arrive. But as with her, they’re unaware of what’s about to happen.

“People are confused. Super excited. Everybody’s wondering what’s going on,” EHS Principal Erin Nichols tells the person filming the video.

Once Banks-Todd arrives in the commons, her students give her an enormous round of cheers. McEntire, then, appears on a giant screen to tell Banks-Todd why she had been pulled away from her classroom.

“Hey Katie, this is Reba McEntire. I heard about the amazing work you’re doing to support children in the arts in your hometown. Way to go!” McEntire says in the clip. “I just love hearing about people like you. In fact, our friends at One Country love you so much. They wrote you a check for $10,000 to support your local music/arts program. I’d also like to invite you to my show tomorrow night. So you can have a night off to relax and have fun with us.”

Katie Banks-Todd Graciously Thanked Her Students

After hearing from McEntire, Banks-Todd’s reaction is priceless. Her jaw drops at the news, and she can’t help but try to hold back her tears.

“I love you guys! I love Reba!” she says when she’s handed the microphone. “Oh my gosh! This is so fancy! Wow. That’s incredible. I’m shaking. I don’t know what to say except thank you, very, very, very much.”

 

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by One Country (@onecountry)

Indeed, Banks-Todd is a deserving candidate for the gift. Banks-Todd returned to her hometown following a successful career on Broadway. Part of her dream has been to support children in music and the arts through her extensive educational knowledge and prior experience. She currently teaches at multiple formal learning institutions, including El Dorado High School and El Dorado Middle School.

“The kids love her. Parents love her. She’s like a singing whisperer. She can make anyone a singer. You can come into her with no talent whatsoever. But, if you just have the drive to learn, she can teach you,” Lori Christy, the bookkeeper at El Dorado High School, emotionally shared with Banks-Todd. “To watch your kid fall in love with something because of one person is pretty awesome as a parent. No one deserves this more than that woman. She’s the best. But anyone who meets her would know that. So, love you, Katie.”

“She’s always just upbeat, and even when you can tell she’s a little bit frustrated and tired, she always just finds a way to bring happiness and joy into the room,” one of Banks-Todd’s students adds. “The whole room lights up whenever she walks in.”

Footage in the clip also features Banks-Todd having the time of her life at McEntire’s show.

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Melinda Lorge is a Nashville-based freelance writer who specializes in covering country music. Along with Music Mayhem, her work has appeared in publications, including Rare Country, Rolling Stone Country, Nashville Lifestyles Magazine, Wide Open Country and more. After joining Rare Country in early 2016, Lorge was presented with the opportunity to lead coverage on late-night television programs, including “The Voice” and “American Idol,” which helped her to sharpen her writing skills even more. Lorge earned her degree at Middle Tennessee State University, following the completion of five internships within the country music industry. She has an undeniable love for music and entertainment. When she isn’t living and breathing country music, she can be found enjoying time outdoors with family and friends.

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