Mo Zhengao was no ordinary school Principal.
The monikor given to him by some may seem demeaning - the 'Begging Principal.'
To nearly twenty thousand students in Du'an Yao county high school over 30 years, he was known by a different name - 'Principal Dad.'

To nearly twenty thousand students in Du'an Yao county high school over 30 years, Mo Zhengao was known by a different name - 'Principal Dad.'

The mountainous regions of Guangxi province Duan Yao in China offer a harsh environment for economic development and rising beyond the clutches of poverty. And yet for over two decades, students from this impoverished region high school have consistently gotten into the top universities of the country and moved on to better prospects in China and around the world.

They would all return to Duan Yao in 2015 - young adults, businessmen and women, doctors and entrepreneurs alike - two generations of students standing beside each other unable to hold their tears back as they paid their last respects to the man who begged for their sake.

Principal Zhengao spent his entire life doing everything to help children study under extreme conditions, ensuring they succeeded in life even if it meant he begged for 30 years for them.

Even with the school waiving tuition and textbook/dormitory expenses, the amount required to keep the children going to school was beyond most families in the region, something that always hurt Principal Mo Zhengao. Every time a student dropped out of school, he would personally visit the parents and plead to allow the child to return, promising and ensuring the parents did not have to pay a single cent.

To get these funds, Mo Zhengao put his pride aside and would go to every charity, company and philanthropist he heard of and beg for his students - "My student has tested into university, but doesn’t have the money to go, so can you help?”

Over the decades, he raised over 30 million yuan (~ Rs 27 crores) by personally pleading for donations, allowing more than 18,000 students to fulfill their dreams of going to college.

Even when he met former students who had moved up in life, he refused their tokens of gratitude, insisting they help the present students instead.

At school, Principal Zhengao's voice over the old public announcement system often broadcast words of kindness, be it asking them to have a nice day or informing them that 'soup had been prepared in the cafeteria so students who had been stuck in the rain should go drink it.' Even 10 days before he passed away, while lying sick at home, he called the school to request the cook to cook glutinous rice balls (a dish eaten during the Lantern Festival) and ensure every student got at least 10 of them for free.

It was important for him that every young boy and girl know that they were valued and that they had a bright future ahead.

Principal Zhengao spent his entire life doing everything to help children study under extreme conditions, ensuring they succeeded in life even if it meant he begged for 30 years for them.
On the day of his funeral, flower wreaths across the county were sold out. 

When he passed away, students and teachers both sat together in class, crying for the father figure they had lost. Professors from as far away as Harvard and Ohio sent their respects too. After all, once upon a time, they too had been saved by their Principal Dad.

Why you should remember Principal Mo Zhengao

Principal Zhengao spent his entire life doing everything to help children study under extreme conditions, ensuring they succeeded in life even if it meant he begged for 30 years for them.

This is the end of my #AtoZChallenge of 2017 where I was focusing on Real Life Heroes: Shining Examples of Kindness and Compassion
You can find the other real-life heroes here.


good teachers don't know where their influence lasts. thanks you Roshan for this amazing theme and such beautiful posts.
here from ATOZ
shalz75 said…
I have no words to add here Doc!! Your blog has been like a shining beacon in this challenge and I hope you will continue with this series. I love getting my daily dose of goodness and am going to miss it tonnes!!
Congratulations for completing ATOZ and thank you for being a support to my blog too. Cheers

Theme: Peregrination Chronicles (travel)
Z is for Zen in the Glen #atozchallenge
Reena Alex said…
Amazing work by Mo Zhengao... Thank you for sharing this ....there's so much us humans can do for others....and kindness is so simple only if we allowed it and shared it...Looking forward to more ...
Rajlakshmi said…
wow, another story that brought tears to my eyes. He was an amazing man, so many lives he must have improved and made by his deeds.
bellybytes said…
I can't thank you enough for a wonderful month of inspiring , heartwarming and motivating stories. Your heroes were ordinary every day people who carried out truly extraordinary tasks .
Amazing wrap to a month long marathon of celebration of kindness and goodness of real life heroes. Thank you being a part of my A to Z! I enjoyed being a part of yours!
Shubhangi @ The Little Princess
Another amazing real life hero! Thank you for sharing these stories during the A-Z challenge, Roshan. I have not been able to read your posts completely, but I am reading them one at a time. All the best for the eBook as and when you create it.
Congratulations for completing the challenge!
Vinodini Iyer said…
After reading your series for the challenge, I am now convinced that the world is not that bad a place after all. Look at all these kind people. We are indeed blessed to how have such angels around us in the middle of all the wrong that happens in the world. Congratulations on the successful completion of yet another A-Z challenge!
This is what education is about.People who value education, try to help others in rising above challenges
Wonderful AtoZ Dr.Roshan
beingFab said…
This was a wonderful series, doc! I hope to come back and re-read some of the posts to restore my faith in humanity.
How wonderful, to go beyond the call of duty and help students .
Thanks for a month full of hope and positivity, Doc. Bless you for spreading goodness through your posts and may it return to you manifold. It was a pleasure reading your posts.
Deepa said…
Education and educationist can really change the world. Good story of a person who changed many students future.
I loved your series Doc. Good one. :)
Shilpa Garg said…
This is so incredible. Thanks for sharing such amazing stories of compassion and kindness by everyday people all through April. Loved reading about them. And congratulations for completing another A to Z. It was great to have your company for this challenge, Roshan. Cheers!
Anita said…
'Flower wreaths got sold out' on the day of his death- this speaks volumes of how much he was loved.
Thanks for all the inspiring & touching stories, Doc.
Sarah Zama said…
Unfortunately, such teachers are so rare. But it's important to knwo that a few exists. These are precious people, who not only help other people reach thier goal, but give people like me who never receive actual help to know that this worjd isn't as bleak as it might seem.

Thanks so much for sharing these stories. I discovered you blog late in the challenge, but I'm happy I finally came here. These are precious stories that shamefully receive so little coverage, in a world that, I believe, desperetly needs such kind of stories.
Amazing story, yet again. Have I told you yours has been one of my favorite A to Z sets this year? If I haven't I'm telling it now :) Thank you for this wonderful series.
Kalpanaa M said…
What a fabulous man! I'm overwhelmed by this amazing story.
Soumya said…
Oh wow! He's such a wonderful man. May his soul rest in peace.

You kicked this A to Z out of the park this time, Doc! This has been my favorite A To Z series so far. Yes, including all the past years.

You have no idea how good a deed you have done by bringing out these stories. Who know, next year someone might include your name in a theme like this :)
A perfect end to a more than perfect series buddy. I take a bow. It was a pleasure being with you this AtoZ. Keep Shining 😊
Prathima M said…
Congratulations sir for your wonderful work.
Your AtoZ has been wonderful! every story i have read has brought a tear to my eye! I hope you are doing the ebook so we can have these stories in our collections forever! Thank you!
Mithila Menezes said…
I had tears in my eyes as I read this post, doc! What a perfectly beautiful story of kindness and selflessness this is. It's really rare to be someone like Principal Dad, and even rarer to read heartwarming stories like these in the age of clickbait. You've done a fantastic job with curating and sharing stories of kindness with us, doc! Thank you so much :)
sruthi said…
This is great work keep going.