Mary Orr fifth-grade philanthropist honored by Microsoft

February 27, 2021
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Since people are no longer going to museums like they used to during the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has used technology to bring the museum to the people.

The global tech company launched its Legacy Project in honor of Black History Month. The virtual gallery honors 30 Black American achievers who are shaping the future today; and mounted on the “young and gifted” wall, a Mansfield ISD student is one of only three standouts displayed.

Orion Jean, a fifth-grader at Mary Orr Intermediate School, is the winner of the 2020 National Kindness Speech contest. He used the prize money to launch his own community campaign to spread kindness, which he dubbed “A Race to Kindness.”

“My first one was collecting 619 toys for the Children’s Health Hospital in Dallas,” said Jean. “My second one was collecting 100,000 meals by Thanksgiving (making it a five-week food drive), and we were able to reach both of those goals.”

Jean’s efforts have caught the attention of major companies that have donated to his cause. He has also been highlighted on major media platforms, like ABC News and NBC, and invited to different conferences.

The 10-year-old said the recognition is nice, but that’s not what fuels him.

“It’s not really about me. It never has been, and it never will be,” he explained. “It’s about bringing kindness to the forefront. While it was great to see me next to these big names and big stars, it was also important to know that the 100,000 people that were able to get meals were known.”

His parents said watching their son grow up to be such a compassionate team player is more than words can express.

“What’s a word that’s bigger than proud? It’s an indescribable feeling,” said mother Kherri Jean. “I think he fully has understood the impact of what one simple act can make, but also just the power of community coming together.”

The young philanthropist has won numerous community service awards. Most recently, he received the Prudential Spirit of Community Award, the largest U.S. youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service.

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Mansfield, Texas, is a booming city, nestled between Fort Worth and Dallas, but with a personality all its own. The city’s 76,247 citizens enjoy an award-winning school district, vibrant economy, historic downtown, prize-winning park system and community focus spread across 37 square miles. The Mansfield Record is dedicated to reporting city and school news, community happenings, police and fire news, business, food and restaurants, parks and recreation, library, historical archives and special events. The city’s only online newspaper launched in September 2020 and will offer introductory advertising rates for the first three months at three different rates.

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