The five teachers were recognized for their dedication as they return to the classroom amid the coronavirus pandemic


Five lucky teachers had quite the star-studded surprise waiting for them recently as they prepared to head back to school amid the coronavirus pandemic.

During a live Zoom call on Aug. 26, teachers Kristin Merz, Kori Green, Natalie Wagner, Stephanie Morrison and a man identified as Teddy were shocked to see their favorite celebrities — former Bachelor star Ben Higgins, Top Chef's Carla Hall, actor Dulé Hill, NSYNC's Lance Bass and actress Melora Hardin — show up on the screen.

The deserving teachers were selected and honored as part of a joint campaign between Cameo Cares, the video platform site/app that allows celebrities to send personalized video messages to fans, and Baby2Baby, a charity that aims to fight childhood poverty.

The money raised from the campaign will go towards helping underprivileged children to ensure they receive essential items, school supplies and basic necessities.

Thousands of beloved teachers were nominated by people across the nation, but Cameo ultimately selected these five for their dedication to the classroom as the ongoing pandemic continues to pose challenges.

During a Zoom call with her friends, Wagner was surprised by Higgins, 31, who commended her for leaving a positive impact on the younger generations.

celebs support teachers
Lance Bass, Melora Hardin and Ben Higgins
| Credit: Noam Galai/Getty; David Becker/Getty; Greg Doherty/WireImage

"I know this has been a crazy time... We can't allow those kids not to have memories like we had," the Bachelor star told the Chicago-based pre-k teacher. "You putting in the effort is such an admirable thing, but the right thing, but not an easy thing. Keep plugging."

Green — a longtime fan of Hall, 56 — got to bond with the renowned chef over their love of food before Hall wished the teacher "an amazing year."

"It sounds like your kids are in such good hands," the Top Chef star told Green in the clip.

Similarly, Teddy and Hardin, 53, also got to bond over the actress's role in The Office before Hardin offered some words of encouragement to the special education and ESL teacher.

"I hope you know how important what you're doing is — especially right now, it's so particularly challenging for you guys," Hardin told him. "I would just say use your instincts and know you're such an important part of good feelings for kids right now in this really weird time."

"It's such a gift and I'm so grateful to you and all the teachers out there doing that. It's really, really special," she added.

On their own Zoom call, Hill, 45, praised Merz, who has been teaching high school physical education but is now assuming the role of a biology teacher due to the pandemic.

RELATED VIDEO: Teachers Hold Parade to Cheer Up Students Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

"I wanted to send some love your way, good vibes your way," the former West Wing star told the teacher of 23 years. "And tell you how much we appreciate what you are doing, shining your light and putting yourself on. I really appreciate the effort."

"You have affected so many lives," the actor added to Merz.

As for Morrison, the visibly-shocked North Carolina teacher couldn't contain her excitement when Bass popped up on the screen, calling the surprise one of the "top 5 experiences of my life."

In response, the NSYNC star told her, "We wanted to honor you as an amazing teacher and we want to thank you so much. I know it has to be so strange this year... [and] it is not an easy job."

Cameo ran the Book Fair campaign through Aug. 30, where they were aiming to raise $200,000 for Baby2Baby. If they exceeded their goal, the video platform company said they would continue to donate a portion of their proceeds to the charity.

A full list of stars who support the cause and are donating to Baby2Baby can be found here.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click