One Nashville-area teacher's cancer story went viral over the weekend after country music star Tim McGraw posted a video of more than 400 students and faculty visiting and worshiping with the teacher last week.
Ben Ellis, a teacher at Christ Presbyterian Academy, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer in December. On Wednesday, students at CPA learned Ellis made the decision to discontinue his treatment, according to a statement from the school. The high school principal, Parker Altman, then got on the intercom to tell the students buses were waiting out front to go visit Ellis.
More than 400 students and faculty then traveled to Ellis' home to pray and worship with Ellis.
"It was really just a spur of the moment thing," said CPA headmaster Nate Morrow.
The video had more than 19 million views on Facebook and more than 162,000 views on Instagram as of Monday morning.
"He’s a dad here, a teacher here, and is one who is an absolutely brilliant educator of children," Morrow said when reached by phone Monday. "What we’ve seen in him is taking the time getting to know students and intentionally loving students well."
Morrow said Ellis has been at the school since 2008 and teaches classes in Latin and Bible studies. Ellis' five kids are also students at the school.
"Ben and his family had received some hard news the night before and our students and faculty wanted to express their love for someone who has significantly changed their lives," a statement from the school read.
The trip to Ellis' house on Wednesday was an example of the school taking care of one of its own, Morrow said. He asked the public to keep the Ellis family in their prayers.
"Ben’s message is to love others well," Morrow said. "He's done such a good job teaching us that, that we wanted to do that for him.
"Talking to Ben through this, his view is through Jesus we all can love well. He wants this message of Jesus’ love for everybody in all circumstances to be continually shared."
Reach Ray Howze at 615-664-2251 or on Twitter @rayhowze1.
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