Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres surprised Rockport-Fulton High School students on Monday’s Ellen Show with the news that she (and the Lowe’s Heroes program) is donating $1 million to rebuild the school’s gymnasium, which was completely destroyed during Hurricane Harvey. The show traveled to the area last week to interview the girls’ volleyball team about their post-Harvey life and how much the gym, a hub of the town’s only high school, meant to them.
“Before Harvey, I was looking forward to my senior year and having all those moments every senior gets, and I kind of didn’t get those moments,” says Allison Sanders, a member of the team. “But, overall I got more out of [going through Harvey] than I ever would have otherwise.”
A live feed of DeGeneres in a Los Angeles studio was projected on a screen to the entire student body, which was gathered in the middle school gymnasium under the guise of recording a video for the program. When DeGeneres shared the gift—the largest she has endowed on air to date—the crowd erupted in cheers and confetti rained down. Stay tuned for updates on the progress of the gymnasium, as the show will be sharing footage from Rockport along the way.