By: Sharon Aron Baron
One dedicated local teacher will be traveling to India to attend the wedding of a former student, and has set up a GoFundMe Page to help pay for the trip.
Over ten years ago, JP Taravella teacher Laurie Acosta taught Mayank Bhandari where she is the Academy of Finance Lead Teacher and one of three DECA advisors.
“From the start, I could tell that Mayank was one of those driven teens I just knew would achieve great things.”In fact, in his junior year of high school, Mayank and his friend Taj created a business plan that won first place at International DECA Competition in LA.”
Bhandari asked Acosta to write his college recommendation letters the next year to get accepted to UCLA. In his senior year at UCLA, he used her as a reference when he was applying for an internship with an investment banking firm where he worked. He worked for Deutsche Bank for the past few years, until he recently left to start his own company.
One day last fall, Bhandari called Acosta from his office in Los Angeles to say he would be returning to Coral Springs for a brief visit, and he wanted to enlist her help with a very special plan. He was ready to propose marriage to the woman of his dreams, his long-time girlfriend, Jasmin Baveja, who would soon graduate from USC Law School. He said that he was actually calling to ask Acosta’s permission to use her high school classroom, full of students, as he had once been, as the setting for his proposal.
That day Bhandari and Baveja attended Acosta’s financial operations class, where they talked about their careers, until Bhandari’s brother, a former student at Taravella, who was sitting in the back of the class yelled out, “So Mayank, what’s important in life?” That’s when he got down on his knee and proposed to everyone’s surprise.
Acosta was holding the ring.
The proposal was a success with Jasmin saying yes, to the delight of the students on hand who were able to witness the event.
Fast forward almost a year later. Acosta received an invitation to the wedding to India.
“Needless to say, this was the opportunity of a lifetime, and one that begs us to say yes. Yet on my salary as a teacher the cost is a bit daunting.”
Fortunately, both Bhandari and Baveja have offered to pay for hotel accommodations at the wedding site, however, they still need visas, shots and flights which she said is very difficult on her salary. Acosta who lives in Coral Springs with her husband Julian convinced him to go. He said the only way they could do it if they received help.
“I’m a teacher…I’m a marketing teacher, so this GoFundMe is a great site for doing this,” she said.
The wedding will be held in August in Suryagarh, Jaisalmer. Acosta was concerned that the dates fell over teacher planning week, fortunately, JP Taravella Principal Shawn Cerra has reassured that the trip is more important. She is working hard to get as much done as possible before she leaves.
So far in one month Acosta has raised $1,500 towards her $5,000 goal.
“The people that have so far provided much of the financial support so far has been my former students. I’m fortunate that they are helping now. It’s so moving.”
Acosta said she will be sharing her journey through India on Facebook with photos and stories. If you’d like to donate to this teacher’s trip to see her student get married. Please go to www.gofundme.com/9bb5uo