WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — Three high school students are hoping to help their math teacher get a new vehicle. 

Aden Petrick, Alayas Medina and Carlitos Rodriguez are seniors at the Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster. They say earlier this week, they noticed their teacher, Adam Ruhnke, seemed a little down.

“He posted on our classroom saying someone needed my car more than me, I guess,” Rodriguez said. 

According to Ruhnke, someone stole his only functioning vehicle from his driveway over the Labor Day weekend. 

“It’s an older car so police say it’s probably just gone at this point,” Ruhnke said.

Ruhnke commutes from Greeley to teach in Westminster. He also is a single father to seven children. 

“I do OK financially, but yeah, to drop on a new car is something that I don’t think I could do,” he said. 

He owns a second vehicle, which he said uses twice as much gas as his primary vehicle that was stolen. Additionally, Ruhnke said the second vehicle was not in working condition. 

“He said he had to walk to the auto parts store multiple times to like fix his other car,” Petrick said. 

“Off a teacher’s income is just like, I feel really bad for the guy,” Rodriguez said.

Teacher fundraiser ‘just blew up out of nowhere’

The teens agreed they wanted to help in whatever way they could.

“It started yesterday during the end of my fifth period. One of the students took a picture of me and I said, ‘Oh, I don’t want the picture to get everywhere,’” Ruhnke said. 

The students had other plans. They posted it online along with a GoFundMe they created to solicit donations

“We were expecting what, like a couple hundred bucks? We’ll just give it to him, call it good. And then it just blew up out of nowhere,” Rodriguez said. 

In one day, they raised more than $2,000 from students, parents, staff and former faculty. 

“I’m absolutely just blown away at what they can pull together on their own,” Ruhnke said. “Really grateful. Humbled. So impressed with my students.”

The students say they simply want to put a smile on the face of a teacher that has impacted so many students. 

“Although you could tell he was a little bit more down than normal he’s still trying and showed up to teach us the best he could, and honestly, I think that’s probably a good example for everyone in the class. Everything’s not going to go perfect 100% of the time,” Medina said. 

When asked how the money will help, Ruhnke said, “I’d be able to get a small car that I could afford to get up here and teach them.”