A local kindergarten student received the surprise of her life when she was informed in front of her entire class that her school had raised money to send her on a trip to Disney World.

Verlesia Mangum, a five-year-old kindergarten student at Ann Smith Elementary in Ridgeland, is the daughter of Christopher and Vernica Mangum. Her mom said that she has a congenital heart defect called Hypoplastic left heart syndrome, which means the left side of her heart is underdeveloped.

“It is difficult but our daughter is on the list for a heart transplant,” Mangum said. “It has been a hard time but we really appreciate the doctor that recommended her to Make-a-wish.”

The school raised $3,100 through the sale of paper stars that cost a dollar and monetary donations. The Ann Smith Parent Teacher Organization also donated $400 to cover the final costs of the trip to Disney World.

“This is really a blessing for the whole family. A dream come true. We could not afford a trip like this for Verlesia and her two sisters on our own,” Magnum said. “We have had our ups and downs, but this whole situation has brought our family closer together.”

The trip is scheduled for this summer.

Ann Smith Principal Karen Harness said that the PTO was fully committed after they learned of Mangum’s condition.

“We are always looking for projects we can raise money for, someone we could help and when it was mentioned that we had a kindergarten student with a heart condition it was obvious,” Harness said. “We put our focus onto making her wish come true.”

Magnum said that her daughter’s love for the worlds built by Marvel and Disney are well known, from the princesses of Frozen to the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda, and classic characters like Mickey Mouse.

“This is the perfect trip for her,” Mangum said.

The check was presented to her during an assembly for her and her kindergarten classmates.

“She is very shy and we did not want to overwhelm her but we did want her classmates and family to be apart of the celebration,” Harness said.

Mangum said that her daughter was visibly happy at the assembly.

“She was very excited and just overwhelmed with love at the program,” Mangum said. “Her classmates were chanting for her and applauding. She loved it.”