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How Two Teachers Spent Their Awesome Summer Vacations

We all know how much teachers do for the students and schools they serve. That’s why it feels great to be able to help them relax every once in a while! And we made sure a couple of teachers did just that—by sending each of them on a well-deserved vacation.

Like a Little Dream Come True

Jordana Freer of Springfield, Illinois, is proof that hard work can lead to big wins—sometimes sooner than you’d expect! Though she’s been teaching for 23 years, it wasn’t until last year that this special education teacher at Hazel Dell Elementary heard about Ramsey Education Teacher Appreciation Giveaway and decided to enter.

One day in May, her principal called her into the office to tell Jordana that she had won a $5,000 vacation getaway.

“I didn’t believe it at all! I thought, ‘This is a scam. There’s no way.’ And then I looked behind me and there was everyone—all of my coworkers video-taping me for my response. Everyone in our office already knew! And I realized—wow!—this is real!”

The excitement continued as Jordana and her husband used their winnings to fulfill a longtime dream of visiting beautiful St. Lucia.

“Going there with my husband was wonderful. We had an amazing time reconnecting,” Jordana said of her vacation.

Jordana says she and her husband always wanted to see the beautiful Caribbean island in person. But, because they’re working hard to progress financially, saving money has usually taken priority over vacations.

“Until our St. Lucia trip, we had only gone on one vacation in our nine years of marriage.” The couple had wanted to go there for their honeymoon, but they weren’t able to make it. “So this trip was like a little dream come true.”

Since discovering The Ramsey Show and reading Dave’s books a couple of years ago, Jordana and her husband have been working hard on the Baby Steps. Jordana said the surprise of having a vacation paid for through the Ramsey Solutions Teacher Appreciation Giveaway felt especially appropriate.

“My husband and I had been working on and following the system for a couple of years,” Jordana explained. “That was what made the news even more amazing, because we were committed to holding off on vacations for a while. So, when I heard someone tell me “We’re sending you on one of our vacations!’ I felt great. It was like, ‘We’re being so frugal by not taking vacations, and guess what? I just won one!’”

The Most Bang for Their Buck

Each year, winners of the Teacher Appreciation Giveaway $5,000 vacation prize can use their winnings to go wherever they’d like. But it appears the relaxing Caribbean island of St. Lucia is a popular destination for budget-friendly teachers. Another one of our winners, Todd Brown and his wife, selected it for their getaway as well!

Todd is currently in his sixth year as an educator and teaches health and wellness to ninth graders. He loves his job and is doing everything in his power to help as many students as possible.

“Over the last few years, I’ve been taking extra classes to continue my education,” Todd said. “That’s one of the reasons the budget’s been tight.”

But he and his wife went through Ramsey+ and have been following Dave’s teachings for years—so they know their way around a budget! That’s why, when it came time to plan their $5,000 vacation, they applied their budgeting skills to make every dollar for their trip count.


Are you a teacher? Help your students win with money today!

“Winning the giveaway was awesome!” Todd said. “That trip was kind of our last hurrah before going back to school. I think St. Lucia is where you get the most bang for your buck as far as fun and luxury, and that’s why we chose it.”

The prize covered a week of fun at an all-inclusive resort for the parents of two.

“We spent a lot of time by the pool and on the beach. We even did a boat tour. We mainly used the time to sit back, relax, and have a short getaway from the kids.”

Because they’re doing all they can to stick to the Baby Steps, Todd says winning the giveaway meant a lot to him and his family.

“Oh man, it was such a blessing,” Todd said. “We got the news right in the middle of a season where we had been working so hard. But we were also at a point where we knew we wouldn’t have much of an opportunity to be able to take a vacation anytime soon. Winning allowed us to do something we wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do for a while!”

Every year, thousands of students learn life-changing financial literacy skills through our Foundations in Personal Finance curriculum. Your students can be next! The curriculum simplifies big topics like debt, insurance, taxes, real estate and the global economy. Make sure your students are ready to enter their future with confidence and tackle their finances head on!

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About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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