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Coach goes viral online for this one act during kids’ basketball game


Teachers rank among the most significant members of our community, yet are one of the most underappreciated.

Someone who dedicates their life to mentoring the next generation, teaching others, and acting as a role model and advisor must be quite exceptional. We frequently hear stories of educators going above and beyond to support their students and those in need.

One such hero is Jonathan Oliver, a physical education teacher at Valdosta, Georgia’s WG Nunn Elementary School. Oliver received recognition for his thoughtful gesture for a kindergarten student during a basketball game.

He was only too delighted to aid one of his students when she sought his assistance.

The coach went into action when Kristen Paulk, a kindergartener on Oliver’s basketball team, begged him to assist her in putting her hair back in a ponytail.


Oliver seemed focused as he struggled to tie Kristen’s tresses back away from her face, bending down to her level on a basketball. But he had no idea that he was being videotaped.


Another elementary school teacher, Kandice Anderson, captured the coach’s kind act on camera. She later posted it to YouTube, where it garnered the public’s warm support.

The title of the viral video read: “When your job goes beyond teaching!”


Once Good Morning America saw the video, they contacted the 34-year-old father of three and scheduled an interview.

“It was shocking to me that it got that much attention because we all do it,” Oliver Good Morning America, adding that he didn’t realize he was being filmed.

“We [teachers] want to make them feel at home and enjoy being here,” he added. “We try to love on them as much as possible. To me, it was just a ponytail.”

The sympathetic coach informed the newspaper that although he frequently assists with his daughter’s hairstyles, he regrettably is limited to helping Kristen with putting a ponytail in her hair during a basketball game.

“It was a good thing she asked for a ponytail. Anything else, I’d say, ‘You better ask your mom,’” he joked.

Miyah Cleckley, Kristen’s mother, expressed her emotional response to the video to the outlet, stating, “I always know that Kristen is in very good hands with him.” The fact that her father frequently does their hair made me think it was quite adorable. With five daughters and one son, he must take up the responsibility of doing their hair while I’m at work.

This story is just one of many stories about teachers going above and beyond for their students. They truly are heroes!