BRISTOL, Va. - Virginia High School drama students accepted a generous gift on Friday, in honor of their late teacher and director Kristin Palmer.
Palmer, her son, and her mother were killed by Palmer's estranged husband in a domestic incident last month, according to Washington County, Virginia Sheriff's deputies.
In the high school library, senior Lexie McCoy opened the gift with her classmates around her. It was a check for more than $1,400.
"I was just not expecting that much money," said McCoy. "I was expecting maybe a couple hundred and to see the thousand and the hundred and fifty, that's magnificent. Its hard to believe someone would raise that much in that amount of time for us."
The donation was from 2012 graduate Lexi Stumpe, who now attends the University of South Carolina. Stumpe told us she was deeply affected by the death of her former teacher and knew she had to do something to help the students.
"That was probably the hardest part for me to imagine, for them to be here and to go through that and to still stay this strong everyday," Stumpe said. "That's what's completely touching to me, is that they keep going."
Stumpe raised the money with the help of her Kappa Delta sorority sisters at the University of South Carolina. She told us other sororities also donated.
Stumpe hopes the money will help the drama club with their spring production, The Lion King.
"I had no idea Ms. Palmer had won the rights or anything," said Stumpe."I know that's a huge deal and the Lion King is one of my favorite productions of all time anyway and that's when it kind of settled on my heart that that's what I needed to do."
The drama students told us they'll use the money to buy more costumes and set materials. Senior Lexie McCoy said it's something Ms. Palmer would've wanted.
"She would've been ecstatic," said McCoy. "I'm sure she's smiling down right now saying, 'Yay! We can do so much with the set.'"
It's a vision the drama students hope to bring to life.
Their production of The Lion King will be on Friday, April 11 at 7:30 p.m. and on Saturday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m at the Virginia High School auditorium. We're told Palmer will be honored at both performances. Tickets will be sold at the door of both shows.