For Pascual Cubero Soto, a second-grade teacher at Forest Glen Elementary, his journey to appearing on the “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and meeting Ellen DeGeneres began when one of his students wanted to help gorillas.
“One of my students was reading a book about wildlife stories and one of the chapters was about gorillas. He was telling me this different fact about gorillas, and I told him, ‘Did you know that Ellen has this foundation helping gorillas?’” Cubero Soto said.
A native of Puerto Rico, Cubero Soto then had his class watch the “The Ellen Degeneres Show” and shared the discussion on Twitter. The Ellen Fund’s official twitter feed shared Cubero Soto’s story, which he shared with his class. DeGeneres herself saw the kids’ excited reaction.
Officials from the Ellen Fund informed Cubero Soto that they wanted to record a promotion with him. Cubero Soto agreed, but instead of an interview with the fund organizers, it was a live Zoom interview with DeGeneres on her show that aired March 8 on NBC. DeGeneres gave both the school and Cubero Soto $10,000. But the story didn’t end there.
“The producers called me again and said that they wanted to do a promo for education month,” said Cubero Soto, noting that May is Education Month. “I said, “Yeah, whatever you want, whatever you need.’ So they flew me to California to do this promo, but they surprised me and took me to the show instead.”
The April 29 show was the program’s 3,000th episode, and Cubero Soto was the guest. He was interviewed on stage by DeGeneres. At the end of the show, she presented him a $20,000 check.
“I had a heart attack,” said Cubero Soto, laughing. “It has been blessing after blessing after blessing. Even though this past year has been crazy and a nightmare with the COVID thing, (the Ellen experience) has been amazing. I cannot complain about anything.”