A Teacher Who Learned English From Watching Ellen Got An Amazing Surprise On Her Show

With help from another inspiring immigrant.

Ellen DeGeneres loves surprising deserving viewers with donations that live up to her "generous" name. The talk show host has given back to students, parents, activists, and, of course, teachers. This week, she welcomed an inspiring ESL (English as a second language) teacher from North Carolina with an amazing story.

Emily Francis was 13 when her mother left Guatemala for the United States. She raised her younger siblings by herself for two years until their mother sent for them to join her. Francis says she learned English by watching television shows, including DeGeneres' show and Friends. Now, she is a teacher of elementary school students.


"I bring literature where my students can read in their native language," Francis explained. "I make sure that they value their culture as much as I do mine."

DeGeneres had several surprises for Francis, including a live shot of the students at her school. "Thank you for teaching me to speak English, and showing me the right path, and being with me all along," one student, named David, told her.

The host then brought out Hamdi Ulukaya, founder of the yogurt company Chobani, who emigrated from Turkey the same year Francis left Guatemala and took ESL classes himself. DeGeneres announced that Chobani would be donating $100,000 to the backpack program at Francis' school.

Hear Francis and Ulukaya's stories in the video below:


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