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Dorchester teacher on ‘Ellen Show’ after donating to school

Nicole Bollerman, a third-grade teacher at UP Academy in Dorchester, appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show on Monday.
Nicole Bollerman, a third-grade teacher at UP Academy in Dorchester, appeared on the Ellen Degeneres Show on Monday.ABC/Screen Capture

A Dorchester teacher appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” Monday, where she and her students were given thousands of dollars from Target, adding to the $150,000 Nicole Bollerman donated to her school last month.

Bollerman, a third-grade teacher at UP Academy Dorchester, was featured on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” after she won a contest, the Wish For Others campaign, in December and donated all the prize money to her school. She said it was “the right thing to do.”

“My kids have overcome some serious adversity,” Bollerman, 26, said in a telephone interview Monday. “I just really thought I could make a difference in their lives with that money. It’s just a sliver of what those kids deserve.”

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DeGeneres called Bollerman an amazing woman, and presented her with a check for $25,000 hidden in an aquarium tank full of Skittles, Bollerman’s favorite candy.

Bollerman said she plans to use the money to pay for graduate courses at a Boston school to earn her master’s in education. She was excited to eat the Skittles, though it would be better for her teeth to share with the other teachers, she added.

Ellen also gave each student at UP Academy a backpack with school supplies and a $100 Target gift card. She gave the 70 teachers at the school $500 Target gift cards for school supplies the teachers would normally buy out of pocket.

Just before Thanksgiving, Bollerman entered the Wish for Others (#WishForOthers) contest, writing in her essay, “I’m a third-grade teacher in a low-income, high-risk elementary school in Boston, MA. My #wish for others is that my voracious, adorable, hard-working, loving scholars all leave for their December break with a book in their hand.”

Capital One, the contest sponsor, granted that wish, and sent books to all of Bollerman’s students. She also won one of the grand prizes of $150,000, and donated it to the school.

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UP Academy, in the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood, was formerly known as Marshall Elementary. Marshall had been a fixture on lists of underperforming schools for years.

Last year UP Academy, a private education company that operates four other schools in Massachusetts, was brought in to take it over as an in-district charter school. The entire administration and faculty were replaced. Bollerman was one of the teachers brought in to turn the school around.

Bollerman said she hopes the money will be used for computer carts to help the students become more technologically literate.

“Hopefully this gift donation will give my kids opportunities they wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she said.


Aneri Pattani can be reached at aneri.pattani@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @apattani95.