Comedian Stephen Colbert put a smile on a half-dozen local teachers' faces Thursday, but he wasn't joking around.
The famous TV host sold off his "Colbert Nation" desk and set to fund more than $5,100 in classroom projects in four Beaufort County schools and at least one in Jasper County.
The money will go toward buying new tablet technology, classroom supplies, a special open mic night for students and replacing outdated cassette tape players with more modern literacy aids, among other projects.
The donations were part of $800,000 that Colbert, along with donations from Share Fair Nation and ScanSource, gave to fund every classroom project South Carolina teachers listed on the DonorsChoose.org site.
DonorsChoose.org is a crowdfunding nonprofit in which teachers list projects and donors can support them. Colbert is on the group's board of directors.
The donations will fund 1,000 projects for more than 800 teachers at more than 375 schools across Colbert's home state. Colbert's share of the money was raised from the auction of the desk and set of "The Colbert Report."
For Pritchardville Elementary School fourth-grade teacher Bree Trott, the donation will buy almost $200 worth of screens to give her gifted-and-talented students privacy at their desks while completing their work, she said.
It was the first project she has posted to the site.
"Had I known it was going to be (funded like) that, I would have put the iPad keyboards up there," she joked Thursday afternoon. "It's still awesome that they did that for teachers. It's some nice appreciation that we don't always get."
More than $2,400 will go toward projects at the Hilton Head Island School for the Creative Arts, including electronic tablets to replace students' dry-erase boards and supplies to host open mic nights for students.
It also will add two new iPad Minis and protective cases to Justin Vaughn's first-grade classroom. Students will use several apps to help build their writing skills.
Vaughn has used DonorChoose.org for two years and had several previous projects funded through it to buy the dry-erase board replacement tablets and a green-screen kit.
"I was really excited about it, and we have lots of plans to get to use (the iPads)," Vaughn said. "It's been really cool."
Island Packet reporter Sarah Bowman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Follow reporter Zach Murdock on Twitter at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach and on Facebook at facebook.com/IPBGZach.