Teacher Takes Former Students to Daddy-Daughter Dance After Their Father Passes Away

After a Davison, Michigan, father tragically passed away leaving behind his wife and five children, the local community rallied behind the family as they grieved and began to cope with his death.

Luke Reece was first admitted to the hospital in early September, but his health quickly took a turn for the worse. He died on Sept. 19 from complications from blood clots.

A fundraiser at a local restaurant and a GoFundMe were set up to help the family cover medical and funeral expenses, but sometimes the sweetest support doesn’t come in monetary form.

Steven Culbert, a former teacher of two of Luke’s daughters, knew that the family had been going through a rough season and had been present for the family as soon as Luke was admitted into the hospital.

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In a Facebook post, Shelley, Luke’s wife, shared that Mr. Culbert had come to the hospital several times.

“He has always been a teacher and role model children could look up to, he goes above and beyond for all his students,” she said of the caring teacher.

While Luke was still in the hospital, Mr. Culbert didn’t want Alivia and Avery to miss out on the daddy-daughter dance that the school was planning, so he asked them if they’d like to join him and his two daughters.

Their father passed away four weeks before the dance was scheduled, but the invitation for the girls was still wide open. In fact, more people pitched in to make sure it was a night the girls would never forget.

A friend bought the girls new dresses, another bought corsages for all four girls and the boutonniere for Mr. Culbert, and they were treated to a day at the salon beforehand.

“It felt like as if I was a Barbie Doll,” Avery told WJRT.

Before they left for the dance, they took a moment to honor their father who couldn’t be with them that night; they released balloons with the phrase “#BeLikeLuke” attached.

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The girls were also surprised with a limo so that they could arrive in style. Shelley said that all four girls were “tickled and excited.”

After a fun night of dancing, laughing, and taking fabulous pictures Mr. Culbert took the four girls out to ice cream. The girls had nothing bad to say about the night, but teased that Mr. Culbert could use some help with his dancing skills.

Shelley was extremely thankful for the love shown to her little girls that evening. She wrote, “There are not enough words to express my gratitude to this humble giving teacher and friend and everyone involved to make this a night to remember. He has wrapped his arms around my girls and made sure they know he is there for them since Lukes passing.”

Mr. Culbert expressed that the evening was just his way of showing two of his students that he believes in them. He said, “They are important to me just like my own family is and I want them to trust me, and I want them to believe in me the same way I believe in them and trust them.”

This is such a beautiful story of the impact a community rallying around a family in support during such a difficult time can have. Those who contributed to this night loved these girls in such a palpable way, something I’m sure they will never forget.

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Kayla has been a staff writer for The Western Journal since 2018.
Kayla Kunkel began writing for The Western Journal in 2018.
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