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VIA: AJC.com

Oprah Winfrey has sent The Ron Clark Academy some kind of stocking stuffer this Christmas: $1.5 million.

The southeast Atlanta school alerted Buzz moments ago that Winfrey sent the donation after learning the school was having trouble raising money, and said she hoped the contribution “would inspire others to follow her lead.”

In true RCA style, the school celebrated with an impromptu rally in the lobby, where shouts and laughter filled the room and happy tears flowed.

“We work so hard to provide scholarships for students of all academic backgrounds and to share our successful teaching methods with the world,” co-founder Kim Beardon said. “We are incredibly thankful for Ms. Winfrey’s support.”

Along with the check, Winfrey included a note praising the school for its work with students and with teachers from elsewhere.

“I hope my gift will inspire others to join in to support RCA, a place that’s not only uplifting students but also training teachers across the globe how to do the same for their students,” Winfrey said in her note, Buzz was told.

Winfrey, who has announced she’ll end her popular daytime show in 2011, has played Santa for the school before. Last December Ron Clark, received a card from her on Christmas Eve that contained a check for $365,000. The two met in 2001 when Clark was named as Disney’s American Teacher of the Year.

Clark has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show to talk about his methods and about his book, The Essential 55. Proceeds from the book were used to start the private, nonprofit school that serves students from various socio-economic and academic backgrounds. RCA has an annual operating budget of $2.8 million and plans to expand the campus by adding a cafeteria, gym and performing arts theater, and relies on community support.

Ron Clark Academy students performing “Dear Obama” for Oprah Winfrey