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The kids are going to be alright – welcome back, Mr. Lawson



Eric Lawson played the most heartwarming April Fool's joke on his students Thursday (photo by David Day)

River City Early College educator Eric Lawson surprised his students by returning to school on Thursday morning disguised as the Easter Bunny after a long absence battling a serious illness.

“I’ve been out over two months. When you’re 48 and you’ve got to learn how to walk again, you know, small things really matter” explained an emotional Eric Lawson.

The unexpected illness kept the 10-year educator from teaching most of the semester. “These kids have emailed me, they’ve sent cards, they’ve made cards, so, I felt like I was a little missed.”

Carolyn Bradley, Tammy Smith, Kelda Bailess and Marian Richardson (photo by David Day)

A little missed indeed. Lawson and his fellow educators at the River City Early College came up with a plan to surprise the students. They would host an outside event, “Breakfast with the Easter Bunny” and Lawson would show up dressed as the Easter Bunny and surprise the students when he removed the Easter Bunny mask.

“That’s Mr. Lawson” screamed a bevy of sharp and perceptive students, much to the disappointment of the educators who wanted to surprise them. “We see his bracelet! That’s Mr. Lawson!”

Seconds later Lawson is seen removing his Easter Bunny costume head and a “the crowd goes wild” moment was caught on the live below:

Lawson’s students have been counting down the days for the return of their beloved Leadership and Physical Education teacher.  It was an emotional reunion with many of the students unable to contain tears of joy.

“I’m going through physical therapy right now.  It’s challenging,” Lawson said. “When you have days like this, it’s all worth it.”

Daisy Jilbert and Tabreia Davis with Mr. Lawson (photo by David Day)

Lawson teaches Leadership to students at River City Early College, putting a lot of emphasis on leadership, life skills and community involvement.

“He teaches the kids to use their story and how to overcome adversity,” stated co-educator Kelda Bailess, “It was already ingrained in him to overcome this … I mean, he’s a warrior.”

“A lot of these young men don’t know how to change a tire, they don’t know how to tie a tie,” Lawson said. “Those are important things that they need when they are becoming a young man.”

Lawson was delighted to announce that he will be returning to the classroom after the Easter holiday but wanted to give the kids something to get excited about going into the break.  The reunion was equally impactful on Lawson himself.

“This was really good.  It’s really good to be back,” Lawson said. “I needed this.”


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