-- A Colorado teacher bade farewell to her students in the sweetest way this year by writing personalized notes to over 100 of the teens.
"They loved it," Brittni Darras, 25, told ABC News today. "I had a wide range of emotions and responses. One student jumped up out of her seat and said, 'I'm going to keep this forever.' It was just smiles, and students were opening their cards and sharing them with one another."
Darras, who teaches the 10th and 11th grades at Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, explained her motivation behind the project on her Facebook page.
She wrote, in part:
"Two months ago was the first time I cried during parent/teacher conferences. A mom of a student who I have taught for two years showed up at my table.... She proceeded to explain to me the reason for her daughter’s extended absence. Her daughter -- a friendly, intelligent, beautiful, driven, young woman -- not only planned to commit suicide, but was in the act of doing so when the police got a Safe 2 Tell report, broke in, and stopped her."
Darras continued: "She had deleted her social media accounts and left goodbye letters; she was ready to leave the world. As her mom sat across from me, we both had tears streaming down our faces. Feeling helpless, I asked if I could write my student a letter to be delivered to her at the hospital; she said her daughter would love that...."
Praising her for academic achievements and a sparkling personality, Darras penned a letter to her student. The girl's response was touching, she said.
"She started crying and turned to her mom and said, 'I didn't think anyone would say such nice things to me. I didn't think anyone would miss me when I'm gone.'" Darras recalled. "It's devastating. I think, as a teacher, that's the worst thing you could hear, is that one of your students feels like they don't belong on this earth. I had no idea she was having a hard time. She was always smiling and happy coming into class. Then, I thought, there are others that could be going through the same thing and you have no idea."
It was then that Darras decided that every one of her students deserved to read something positive about themselves.
Through April and May, Darras penned 130 cards to each of her English students and distributed them after final exams.
"I handed them out just minutes before the bell rang and they were about to go on vacation," she said. "I think the message that I'm trying to get across is you never know who's hurting. Just a few simple words of encouragement can not only change somebody's life; as a matter of fact, it can save somebody's life."
Pete Alvaraz, principal of Rampart High School, said Darras' deed serves as an example of what it means for teachers to "truly care" for their students.
"The best teachers make connections to their students and what better way to that than a handwritten note that speaks to what makes a student special," Alvaraz wrote to ABC News. "It touches my heart to have teachers on my staff that are willing to put students self-worth at the forefront of their teaching."