Community, OKCPS Partners Donate To Teacher Who Had Classroom Destroyed In Fire

Wednesday, January 26th 2022, 5:23 pm


It was a little over a week ago when an Oklahoma City teacher's classroom was vandalized by fire. 

Coolidge Elementary School teacher Rachel LeMaster lost everything in her classroom. She said Wednesday that it did not take long for the community and the Oklahoma City Public School District’s partners to step in with overwhelming support.

LeMaster received the devastating news on the morning of the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Someone broke into the school near Southwest 59th Street and Villa Avenue and started a fire in her classroom.

“Yeah, it turned things upside down for a couple days for sure,” LeMaster said.

LeMaster and her Pre-K students had to move into a temporary space with nothing from their room.

“Everything in the classroom if it wasn’t engulfed by the fire,” LeMaster said. “The sprinklers ruined at lot of stuff and then soot.” 

LeMaster said some of her students are still struggling to understand.

“That was and is still their safe place,” LeMaster said. “But they’re confused as to why it’s different and why it’s gone.”

A co-worker suggested she make an Amazon wish list and post it to Facebook. LeMaster said donations started trickling in.

“St. Luke’s ended up purchasing the rest of the list, which was a lot of stuff,” LeMaster said. “So that was amazing that St. Luke’s Church was able to step in and help so much.”

The support continued. LeMaster was surprised Wednesday morning with a $500 gift card from the Oklahoma City Public School's foundation.

LeMaster said what started as a huge setback has rekindled her love for the job.

“It’s made me really, truly realize that this is my profession. This is what I love,” LeMaster said. “It’s why I’m here. The people showed me love and kindness, and it’s been very special.” 

LeMaster and her students are expected to move back into their classroom after Spring Break.