Larry Tingley has fought a heart condition for several years.
On Thursday, he made it on the waiting list to receive a new one.
Friday in class, he surprised his sixth grade students at Noyes Elementary with the news by giving them a tough assignment.
As part of a persuasion project, they debated which hypothetical candidate should receive a heart transplant.
"I originally voted for David because he was young, he had a bright future, his parents wanted him to be a lawyer, he had a long life to live," says Karlo Ginn, a 6th grade student at Noyes Elementary.
"He looked like he was a good student and he is respected. His parents had a lot of dreams for him and he was the youngest of all," says Debora Paez, another 6th grade student at Noyes Elementary.
After presentations for five different candidates, Mr. Tingley tossed in a last minute candidate named "Scorpio."
"His mother, father, and grandmother all have heart issues. He's a strong advocate for children in the community," Tingley tells the class.
Students took some time to consider the new option, and then put it to a vote.
It turned out to be tie between "Scorpio" and two others.
Then, a surprise.
"Scorpio is actually Mr. Tingley," Tingley tells the class.
Students couldn't believe it.
"I was so shocked. I got the news and I was like 'What is happening?' I would have changed it totally if I knew it was him," says Paez.
Around 13 years ago, Tingley was diagnosed with ischemic cardiomyopathy.
In January, Tingley's condition worsened.
Doctors said he would need a heart transplant.
"I still have the excitement of getting the chance to have a new heart, but I'm scared. I'm scared," says Tingley.
After a lot of patience, and quitting smoking, Tingley actually made it on the waiting list for a new heart Thursday.
"I am excited, but I'm scared so. I don't know. It's just an in-between feeling," Tingley says.
Students knew Tingley has been sick, but had no idea he needed a new heart.
Now they and their teacher are just waiting.
"I hope he does get it so we all have him in our community, and helping kids in IEP," Ginn says.
"I'm really happy he's in the list, but I think I'm still going to pray for him a lot so he can get a heart," Paez says.
Kids hope one of their favorite teachers gets what he needs to stick around for a long, long time.
Aside from teaching at Noyes elementary, Tingley holds two other jobs.
One is working with the kids at the Noyes Home.