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Pay It Forward: Dr. Javier Montanez

Dr. Javier Montanez is a principal dedicated to students at the Leviton Dual Language School in Providence. (WJAR)

Dr. Javier Montanez is a principal dedicated to students at the Leviton Dual Language School in Providence.

In fact, he considers his students and his staff family.

But becoming a principal wasn’t easy.

Montanez was homeless for much of his childhood, as well as while he attended Hope High School. Eventually, he learned how to read, but it didn't come until his late teenage years.

One of the reasons he went to school was to get two square meals.

"Those were the tough years, but those years made me what I am today and helped me appreciate life today,” he said.

Montanez shares his story with his students, which is one of the many ways he connects with them.

Staff members praised his temperament with students and teachers alike.

"We all have such high respect because he really lives what he preaches, and that's really unusual these days and the kids know he's for real and they respect him,” Alisha Borrelli, a teacher, said.

The school nurse, Lauren Louth, shared similar sentiments.

"He is just a sunshine to everyday,” she said.

So, a little surprise was in order, thanks to a nomination sent into NBC 10 News.

"Excuse me? Can we interrupt for one second?” Alision Bologna of NBC 10 News said. “Hi guys, I'm from Channel 10. We have a little surprise for your school, so if you want to open up this card, we think what you're doing here at this school is really great, so we want to pay it forward to the school with 10 $50 bills for all of you guys. What do you want to say?”

"Look what just happened to us,” Montanez said to students. “Who can do the math for me?'

Montanez said he is leaving it up to the new student council to decide how to manage the gift.

“Thank you,” he said. “If I can help one person, one child, I've done my job."

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