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Cody Dortch began furiously saving money for something back in October–doing extra chores, babysitting, doing random jobs for the neighbors and stashing his Christmas and birthday money. His mom figured it was another Xbox game or something.

But this graduating fifth-grader had a grand plan for all his elementary school teachers– to thank them for all they had done for him, before he heads off to middle school in Edmond, Oklahoma.

It took him 6 months to raise the $200 needed to treat them to a special evening out. He wanted to show them he could work hard for them, like they all had worked hard for him.

He designed invitations and delivered them to each of seven teachers. Some had moved on from the teaching profession, so he needed to track them down and mail the invites. He made a reservation at a nice restaurant, Interurban, and bought each one a rose.

Cody-invitation to teachers
When they all assembled, he read a prepared speech and confirmed that he would be paying for the entire meal.

“Such an honor and privilege to have had this kid in my class,” teacher Andrea Pile Brousseau said after the dinner. “He is such a light—and his parents are to be applauded, too”

Cody’s father is a teacher, AP Chemistry at the High School, so the 11-year-old knows how many extra hours teachers put into their jobs, seeing how hard his dad works.

“When I got to meet up with them outside of school, I realized my teachers are not just teachers—  they have families (some even brought their kids to dinner),” he told Good News Network. “It’s like they have a whole other day’s work they have to cram in to a few hours before bed, but they still all took the time to come have dinner with me…They’re all pretty cool and this just proves their students always come first.”

Cody’s mom Ashley was so proud of her son, and acknowledged another aspect of the teaching profession “These ladies did not just teach my child, they helped raise him to become who he is today.”