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Mary Buren Elementary in Guadalupe Receives $100,000 on ‘Ellen’ Show to Restore Flooded Library

Dreams have come true for students, teachers and staff at Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show has responded to a plea to restore the library at Mary Buren Elementary School in Guadalupe with $100,000 from Target's Thanks A Billion campaign. The show, which was taped Thursday, aired at 4 p.m. Friday.

“Our students are so deserving of this very generous gift from Ellen,'' Principal Jesely Alvarez said. "The level of quality, high-interest books and resources this funding will be able to provide for our library is going to really make a difference in raising student literacy skills and in continuing their passion for reading. We are forever grateful and still can’t believe how fortunate we are!”

The library was flooded and many of the 11,000 books, furniture and other learning tools were lost. The staff discovered the library was totally destroyed when they returned from winter break after a big storm in December. The salvaged contents were moved to a temporary classroom.

A short time later, teachers Cathee Barkley and Ashley Thompson wrote a letter contacting the television show and explaining the circumstances.

A crew from The Ellen DeGeneres Show was at the school campus this week to document and film students, staff, parents, the school and damages from the flood.

The school's fundraising before the gift only gathered about $8,000. Significant funding was needed.

— Kenny Klein is a public information officer for the Santa Maria Joint Union High School District.

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