Students raise money in honor of Professor - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Students raise money in honor of Professor

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PASCO, Wash. -- Students fill up the lobby inside of Columbia Basin College to show what their teacher has taught them. Pay it forward.

"To come together to do something like this is just completely overwhelming, it really is,"explains Dr. David Lemak, professor of the bachelor of applied science in management course at the school.

Dr.  Lemak was surprised by his students with the news that they're starting an endowment in his name.

"I worked with a lot of students and they've done some marvelous things for me personally in lots of different ways, but to be honored with something like an endowment scholarship is something I never dreamed about,"says Lemak.

For the men and women who have come into his class,  paying tribute to the professor was a no brainer. But when his students got the news he was battling terminal cancer, they felt they had to do something.

"What better way to honor a man who has been going , and going, and going but not just for himself, but for the students of the community," says student Rodney Wright.

For those students, most of them adults working towards a four year degree, Lemak's impact on them has gone much farther than the classroom.

"He went out and did a scholarship that afforded me, that I was able to win, but he's the one that got the money together, and I was able to get that and I will finish and graduate," student Tawni Solberg says.

"He makes it so that you want to learn more, that you want to keep coming back, you want to continue your education, so we learn more than just book lessons, we learn life lessons," explains Wright.

The prognosis for the Vietnam Veteran and educator is unclear, but while he continues to fight through his illness, he does it with the support of his students.

"And I didn't want to let them down, so I can't let a little old thing like cancer get in the way of it," says Lemak.

Students have raised around $6,500 for the endowment, but still need help to get to their goal of $10,000. If they do that, the college foundation and the president of C.B.C will match $2,000 each to the fund.

If you want to help, you can contact the college foundation at 509-542-4436.