PHOENIX (CBS 5) - Jim Hyte has seen a lot of schools get rid of their art, theater and music classes, and that makes him sad because he knows first hand what a difference the performing arts can make on a child's life.
"People think the arts don't matter, but if you can get the kids, especially on stage to step into somebody else's shoes and become somebody else, you can look at the world in a different way," said Hyte.
For the past 23 years, Hyte has been bringing out the best in students at Phoenix's Bennett Academy. But he doesn't just teach art and theater.
Mr. Hyte writes his own original screenplays for his kids to perform on stage.
"If I didn't enjoy it, I wouldn't do it," said Hyte. "You've got to enjoy what you do. All the money in the world doesn't matter if you don't like what you are doing."
Jorge Bustos is a former student, who was always a bit shy and not that comfortable around people.
But all that changed when Jorge had a class with Mr. Hyte and starred in one of his plays.
"He told me I have talent, and he said I should use it and not waste it," said Bustos. "I want to do that for him."
A few weeks ago, Mr. Hyte was going through some health problems and had to take some time off. Bustos heard about it and wanted to help, so he reached out to CBS 5 to Pay It Forward to Mr. Hyte and give him $500. A CBS 5 News crew followed along for the big surprise.
"Mr. Hyte has been a great role model for students like me," Bustos told Hyte. "You're the best teacher I ever had and gave me ideas of future careers. I'd like to thank you for letting me be part of this theater company. I wanted to give you $500."
"He's making a difference," added Bustos. "He's sharing kindness and compassion and all that. Thank you for being my teacher."