Waco middle schooler raises money to buy a couch for his classroom

Published: Sep. 27, 2023 at 6:27 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - Inside Mrs. Kowalski’s classroom at Lake Air Montessori School students are working through math problems, coming up with solutions to real world examples. For 7th grader Tayeson Estelle an idea in his head is coming to life.

”I just said why don’t we get furniture?” he said.

He’s the reason why the math problems are now being worked atop stools and yoga balls and it all started with a couch.

”We were talking about it and I didn’t really know if we were really being for real about it at first, but then I went home and I was like I’m actually going to set it up,” Tayeson said.

With a little help from his parents, he started a GoFundMe to raise money for it.

”My mom posted it and then my aunt posted it, then my grandma posted it,” Tayeson said. “I guess it was just like spreading and people at my school were also stepping in to help to donate.”

The 13-year-old got close to $400 and later found the perfect couch on Facebook Marketplace.

”What amazed me the most is how he started it and I didn’t think he was going to follow through with it,” Mrs. Kowalski said. “It was just an idea we were discussing in class.”

With the money leftover he bought high top tables, a table with benches and yoga balls.

”When we brought in some of these bulker ideas like a kitchen table you would have at home or this high stool, you get a little nervous at first,” Mrs. Kowalski said.

The setup is what’s called flexible seating and is starting to gain traction in schools across the country. At Lake Air Montessori School, Tayeson said the idea to buy the couch started when he noticed one of his teachers had a flexible classroom and Mrs. Kowalski didn’t.

Experts say this model helps students feel more empowered because they have different choices of what to sit on and with whom. Tayeson said it helps him focus better in class.

”It’s better when I have a different kind of chair that’s moving with me, instead of just me moving,” Tayeson said.

Tayeson and his classmates even created their own rules for the couch, no drinks on it and no shoes on it. He said that since the couch was added his classmates have done a good job of following those rules.