BLUFF CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – A 12-year-old Bluff City Middle School student finally received the Apple Watch promised to her for her school fundraising efforts, but only after the school first sent her home with a generic smart watch.
Knowing she needed to sell 30 items to score an Apple Watch, Chloe Ketron sold $500 worth of cookie dough and pizza as part of her recent school fundraiser.
“I felt excited and proud that I had sold that much,” she said. “I was really hoping to get that Apple Watch. My mom had one and I really wanted one.”
Her excitement quickly turned to frustration and sadness when it came time to open her reward.
“I was really upset and disappointed,” she said. “I just saw that it looked nothing like an Apple Watch. I was just sort of angry. I knew my mom would be, because we both worked really hard and put a lot into this.”
She said the generic watch given to her as her reward was incompatible with her iPhone and far less expensive than the more than $250 starting price for its Apple competitor.
Chloe’s grandmother Judy Ayres said the situation made her feel “angry, disillusioned and disappointed.”
“Chloe worked very hard on this,” she said. “It hurts. It hurts doubly when it’s your child or grandchild.”
Chloe’s family says they called the district office and the middle school with concerns, but Sullivan County Director of Schools Evelyn Rafalowski said the principal first found out about the situation Monday, after WJHL started asking questions.
“(The principal) states there was an oversight and a student was given a smart watch instead of an Apple watch,” she said in an email Monday. “The vendor is taking care of it and replacing the smart watch with an Apple watch.”
Rafalowski said it’s her understanding five students were impacted.
“Apple watches were being delivered today to the students,” Rafalowski said Tuesday. “(The principal) has found no one who received any report that a student received the wrong watch. This was an error which if had been brought to the attention of the administration would have been taken care of at that time.”
“I’m glad they’re going to change that and they’re actually going to stick to their word,” Chloe said excitedly in response to the good news Monday afternoon.
The sixth grade student received her watch Tuesday afternoon and is now proudly wearing it.
“I think it’s unfortunate,” her grandmother said of the situation. “I’m glad they’re going to make it right. Chloe worked very hard on this.”
WJHL attempted to contact the vendor Tuesday morning and is waiting to hear back.