LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Bullitt Central High School teacher got a huge surprise, thanks to some students who helped bring a little bit of color to his life.
Bullitt Central Band Director Rodney Stults is color blind, but new glasses given to him by his students are helping him see things he's never seen before.
Even though school was out, students were glad to meet with Stults in June to plan for the next school year.
"I know a lot of band kids come from a lot of different backgrounds, I know some don't have a father figure or someone they can look up to," said Savannah Gould, a Bullitt Central 2019 graduate. "He is that for a lot of people."
But Stults faces one challenge in particular: he is color blind.
"Most things that I thought were brown are actually red," he said. "A lot of what I thought was blue is purple."
The school purchased gray dark t-shirts with the word "bandgeek" on the front. The word "band" was dark purple and the word "geek" was white. He says he couldn't see the word "band," and almost sent them back.
"I could feel that there is screen printing on it, but I couldn't see it," he said.
So for months, students knew exactly what they wanted to get for his birthday in late May right before school got out.
"Everybody went outside, and I came out, and they're all standing around, and all of them had their phones out," he said.
That was the first clue that what's in a small box is something big.
"We didn't know what his reaction was going to be," said Sarah Bush, a senior at the school.
The students handed him a box, and when he opened it, tears start flowing.
"When he got very emotional, I think everyone did to," Bush said. "I know I started crying."
The box contained EnChroma glasses -- glasses that help color blind individuals experience more vibrant colors. The students raised about $400 for them. The glasses helped Stults see more colors for the first time, as he flipped between his regular and new glasses.
"They fit over my glasses," he said. "Inside, they don't work, but outside, they do."
And he couldn't wait to take them on vacation just last week to Hilton Head.
He says seeing the sunset for the first time with the glasses was an emotional moment.
"I just cried for a long time," he said. "I've done a lot of crying since I've got them. I've seen things I've never seen before. It's beautiful."
He says it's a gift from students that he'll forever be grateful for.
"The bricks on the patio home are brown until I put these on and they're dark red," Stults said. "My red and green prizms overlap and it separates them.
"These bring so much joy to me now. It is so special to me."
And for their part, his students say they were honored to give it.
"To be able to give back something -- kind of small to us, but big to him -- was really cool," Gould said.
"I'm not upset that I'm color blind," Stults said. "I'm really thankful for this technology that lets me see color now."
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