DETROIT (WWJ) – A Detroit school in dire need of upgrades and repairs is getting some help from Ellen DeGeneres.

Seen in a video posted to her website, the talk show host thrilled Spain Elementary students and staff with the announcement of “Ellen’s biggest most generous giveaway ever!” — a $500,000 donation.

The school has been in the spotlight for its numerous building problems, which the city and the district are working to address.

“At Spain Elementary School in Detroit, many of the students are poor or homeless. That is not their only obstacle,” DeGeneres said. “Almost all of their technology does not work, their entire roof is falling apart, their gym is completely shut down, forcing students to take PE in the hallways. Some of the students actually have to wear coats in the classroom because there is no heat.”

“When I heard about this, I knew that I wanted to help,” she said.

Before the details were announced, students gathered for an assembly were clearly excited, cheering like crazy just to see DeGeneres’ talking to them on a video screen.

The donation, part of Lowes’ Toolbox for Education program, includes:

  • $50,000 for new computers and other technology from Lowes
  • $200,000 worth of materials and labor for roof work and other repairs
  • A $250,000 donation to the school from Lowes
  • A $100 Lowes gift card for each teacher and staff member

DeGeneres also started a GoFundMe page for the school with a $5 million goal.

Spain Elementary in Detroit (credit: Sandra McNeill/WWJ)

Spain Elementary in Detroit (credit: Sandra McNeill/WWJ)

Kris Johnson, a mother of a 4th grader at Spain, literally shrieked with joy upon hearing the news.

“Thank you! Thank you! Oh my God, I love Spain,” Johnson told WWJ’s Charlie Langton. “I did not want to take my son out. He has sickle cell anemia, and I heard about all the conditions and stuff…I’m sorry, I’m crying, I’m crying.”

The show featuring the segment is scheduled to air Thursday afternoon.

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