Retired US Teacher Reunites With Favourite Kindergartener On Her 80th Bday

A retired school teacher's 80th birthday bash surprise turned out to be an unforgettable heartfelt moment when she reunited with her favourite student from kindergarten in the 1980s.

Pavi Vyas
New Update
Good News

Retired Teacher Reunites With Favourite Kindergartener At 80th B'day (Image: Debra Solomon/ Good News).

Amid the flicker of candles and the hum of chatter, emotions ran high as tears mingled with cheers in a room filled with heartfelt sentiments. It was the 80th birthday celebration of a retired teacher, a milestone marked not just by the passing of time but by the lasting impact she had left on countless lives.


However, this birthday soirée held an unexpected surprise, courtesy of the retiree's daughter, who had planned a remarkable reunion. Amidst the joyous celebration, the room erupted in gasps of astonishment as the retired schoolteacher was greeted by a familiar face from decades past—her beloved student from the 1980s, a kindergartener who had left a huge mark on her heart. Imagine the retired educator's disbelief, her heart swelling with incredulous joy as she laid eyes upon her once tiny charge, now grown into a remarkable individual, Seyi Fayanju.

The heartwarming story of this woman and her student reuniting years later, while most of us fail to meet our classmates, let alone our teachers, is also a reminder for all of us, as Fayanju, the student who has now turned a doctor at Stanford University, says: "I think that if people are able, they should take the time to reach out to those teachers, mentors, and coaches that helped them to be better versions of themselves." 

Retired Teacher Reunites With Favourite Kindergartener At 80th B'day

Karen Solomon, a retired school teacher with 27 years of teaching experience, was about to celebrate her 80th birthday in April. Her daughter, Debra Solomon, wanted to make the occasion truly unforgettable. What seemed like a regular party turned into an extraordinary moment for her mom.Going the extra mile, Debra hatched a plan to track down Karen's favorite student from her kindergarten class in the 1980s. This led to an emotional reunion that left everyone in tears and cheers, making her mother's birthday truly special.

"I could only think of one present for my mom," Debra shared. "A reunion with her favorite kindergarten student from Laning Ave School in Verona, New Jersey." It was a long shot, but Debra set out on a mission, scouring social media and yearbooks for any trace of the former student.

The effort paid off, as Debra was able to find her mom's favorite kindergartener from the 1980s, Seyi Fayanju, through a Google search. She found his faculty page at Stanford University, where Fayanju is now a doctor. Despite his busy schedule, he took some time out to attend his favorite teacher's 80th birthday party as he added a stop in Wiscion to his schedule.


On the big day, Fayanju mingled with his favorite teacher's friends and family. The birthday girl's granddaughter took Fayanju to the room, holding his hand to stand right behind Mrs. Solomon. Her daughter asked Solomon about her old class and students when Fayanju popped up. Solomon jumped in joy, recognizing her former student as all grown up but still carrying the spark of that curious kindergartener she once knew.

Her daughter described her joy: "When he appeared, my mom jumped in joy." She added, "Everyone in the room was crying—tears of happiness and love." While Fayanju expressed: "Mrs. Solomon cried, I teared up, and everyone was happy."

The reunion was truly magical. Tears filled Karen's eyes as she embraced her former student. Laughter and reminiscing filled the room as they exchanged stories about their lives, with their early school days holding a special place in their memories. Talking about Solomon, Fayanju shared how his parents were Nigerian immigrants who moved to New Jersey in the 1980s. He recalled that Solomon taught him all the usual kindergarten things but also kindness and understanding towards all the kids in her class. He added that not only did he receive an education from Solomon, but his family also connected with her. He mentioned how he learned about her culture and how she learned about Hannukah, giving Solomon credit for his lifelong interest in history, geography, and learning about different cultures.

 Even after Fayanju's family moved away, he kept in touch with Solomon. During his first week of college, he wrote her an email to say hello and thank his teacher, who also taught him math in 3rd grade. It was during the pandemic that Fayanju's parents asked, "How is Mrs. Solomon?" When Fayanju realized he had lost contact, he was afraid that her email would have bounced. Fayanju tried to reconnect by sending an email anyway, and they connected on a video call with his  childhood teacher. Fayanju recalled how, during the video chat, Solomon wore the bracelet his parents had given her during the 1990s as a gesture and gift to thank her. He also shared how his teacher, who loves traveling, used to send him postcards from different places, which he still treasures somewhere at his parents' house.

Expressing the magical moment of the birthday party and connecting with Solomon's family and friends, Fayanju shared his overwhelming feelings and expressed, "I think that if people are able, they should take the time to reach out to those teachers, mentors, and coaches that helped them to be better versions of themselves."

Solomon thanked her daughter for the incredible surprise of the reunion with her favorite student, stating it would be an unforgettable moment of a lifetime for her. This heartwarming story serves as a beautiful reminder of the lasting impact teachers can have on their students, proving that the bonds made in those early classrooms can go beyond time.


It's a nudge to reach out to those who have shaped our lives, to express our appreciation for the role they played in our journeys. After all, a heartfelt reunion might just be the most meaningful gift we can offer.


Stanford University New Jersey Favourite Kindergartener Karen Solomon