This teacher is using his new fame to promote a very selfless cause.
Samuel Pearce, 24, made headlines earlier this month when it was discovered that during his time away from teaching middle school students, he was working as a runway model under the name "Sam Worthen." The Brooklyn-based English teacher has used the buzz he's received for a greater purpose -- raising money to buy books for his students, he told The Huffington Post in an email.
Samuel Pearce on the runway.
The 24-year-old, who's modeled for big names including Diesel and Alexander McQueen, started a GoFundMe campaign earlier this month, and raised $5,255 in 72 hours. Pearce told HuffPost that he has placed the first order of books, a total of 30 titles, and expects his students to have new ones by Monday.
"There are so many hardworking teachers and students who would benefit from outside funding. I am fortunate to have received publicity," the dedicated teacher told HuffPost of the reception to his campaign. "I am surprised and deeply grateful."
Pearce explained to HuffPost that he's long been brainstorming ways to bring more books to his students, as many of them didn't have copies at home, as well as allow them to request titles, piquing their interest in reading. When news of his two professions broke, he said he felt uneasy about his students finding out about his other identity, but was inspired by his agent to look at things a bit differently.
"I didn't see how my students knowing that I'm a model could possibly benefit them," Pearce said of the initial publicity. "I called my agent, George Brown, who at some point said the phrase 'public cause.' That sparked the connection in my head: to accept publicity and use it to raise money for my kids."
The teacher is challenging his 67 students to read a total of 300 books as a class by mid-June.
While the fundraiser was a success, Pearce explains that many other passionate teachers have trouble getting materials to their students, and hopes that people will help other educators raise money for adequate supplies.
To learn more about Pearce and his fundraiser, visit his GoFundMe page here.