Ellen DeGeneres, along with Lowe's, surprised Rockport-Fulton High School athletes with a commitment to rebuild their gym to the tune of $1 million. The gym was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey.

Ellen DeGeneres, along with Lowe's, surprised Rockport-Fulton High School athletes with a commitment to rebuild their gym to the tune of $1 million. The gym was destroyed during Hurricane Harvey.

Michael Rozman/AP

Students at Rockport-Fulton High School got a Texas-size surprise Monday from Ellen DeGeneres herself.

On Monday's episode of Ellen, DeGeneres announced she's teaming up with the Lowe's Heroes program for a $1 million commitment to rebuild Rockport-Fulton High School's gym, affectionately nicknamed "Gold Gym," the San Antonio Express-News reported.

The gym was one of the many structures destroyed by Hurricane Harvey in August.

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The school's volleyball team was front and center during Monday's episode.

The teenage girls explained what it was like losing not only their homes and schools when Hurricane Harvey struck the Texas coast Aug. 25, but also their sanctuary.

"I spend more time in that gym than I do at home," said Rockport-Fulton senior Allison Sanders told the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "Losing it was devastating."

"It really is the biggest gift we've ever given," DeGeneres said. "I know that your gym was more than just a gym to all of you. It was important to your entire community."

Lowe's Heroes from nearby stores will volunteer and help build a new gym with the donation, according to a news release.

The school district declined to comment on the event because of confidentiality agreements.

Aransas County ISD teacher Becky Macha said her daughter was the person who initially contacted the TV show's producers about aid for Rockport, the coastal city of about 10,000 that was among the Texas communities devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

"She'd been hearing me tell stories about students and what was going on here in the school," Macha told the Caller-Times. "She said, 'This is something Ellen would help with. This is something Ellen needs to know about'."

The outpouring of support from around the nation has inspired Rockport residents to stay strong, Macha said.

"To think it's still going on," Macha said of the $1 million donation. "What hope we have for our future when we see stories like this."

Aransas County ISD in Rockport is among the Texas school districts that were most severely impacted by the Category 4 storm when it made landfall.

The school district of about 3,300 students was hit with $55 million in damages. As of March, more than 500 Aransas County ISD students have yet to re-enroll in their home schools.

Students who were summoned for the live shot last week were under the impression they were going to be featured on the Ellen show for an unrelated matter.

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