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Panhandling teacher's sign to be in Smithsonian

The Smithsonian has asked Teresa Danks to donate her famous panhandling sign to their museum. (Mummolo/KTUL)

Currently on display in the home of Teresa Danks is a poster board of prestige.

"It is historical art," she laughed.

The sign seen round the world, born out of a frustrating discussion over school budget cuts.

"Then, I told my husband; I said, 'And I'm just tired of feeling like a beggar. I’m begging all the time for what I need,'" she said.

"I was trying to make her feel better, and I said that, 'You know, maybe you should go to the streets like the panhandlers do?' Try to get her to chuckle, trying to get her to laugh, trying to take some of her stress go away," said her husband Jonathan.

"And I was just like, 'You know what? I want to do that,'" she said.

"She took me seriously," said Jonathan.

RELATED | Panhandling Teacher heads back to the streets one year after starting effort

The next thing you know, there she was at the exit ramp of 193rd with a pic for posterity.

"I really expected that to be the end of it," she said.

Instead, it was one of the matches that lit the fire for the teacher walkout, and now the Smithsonian wants the sign.

"It's almost overwhelming; it's too hard for me to even wrap my brain around because it's so big to me," she said.

RELATED | Panhandling teacher draws national spotlight to Oklahoma's education troubles

"I want teachers across the nation to know that people are fighting for them in the current day," said Teresa. "What I was trying to teach was, don’t just sit around and make negative memes, don’t just sit behind a keyboard and complain, get out and do something."

The exhibit is expected to open sometime in 2020.


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