COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A famous South Carolinian gave teachers a reason to celebrate Thursday.
Stephen Colbert is dishing out almost a million dollars to make sure classrooms across the state are well-equipped.
A good number of the teachers he's helping are in Columbia.
Lonnie B. Nelson Elementary, A.C. Flora High School and E.E. Taylor Elementary are a couple of the schools.
"No one else can go anywhere else in this world without coming through someone's classroom, and I feel like we need highly qualified and effective educators there to teach the children," said Fourth grade teacher Kendra Lynn.
For Lynn, Dr. Theresa Moore, and Tamara Hannibal, all three educators at Edward E. Taylor Elementary in Columbia, teaching isn't a job. It's a passion.
"In order to be a teacher, you must have a love for children," said teacher Theresa Moore. "You have to have a lot of patience also."
But these teachers say other things are important to have too -- computers, lots of supplies, and even an iPad or two -- things not always easy to come by.
"With the funding that we get, we don't always have enough to do all of those things that we would like to do," said Pre-K teacher Tamara Hannibal.
So the three teachers turned to website DonorsChoose.org, where teachers can ask for things and strangers can fund them.
"The latest request was an iPad mini," Hannibal said.
And to their surprise -- a celebrity and native South Carolinian paid for them.
Colbert dished out $800,000 to pay for 1,000 requests in 375 schools, every South Carolina request on the site.
An announcement he made to Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman in a video chat.
"Handing a child a sheet of paper with a problem on it and then handing them an iPad for them to practice problems that way, their eyes light up, and you can tell that," Lynn said.
The teachers expect to get their new gear in the fall before school starts.
Colbert said he's a product of South Carolina public schools -- and attended an elementary school on James Island.