That wasn't a random group of kids surrounding Tim McGraw as he sang "Humble and Kind" at the 2016 CMA Awards. The singer reveals that they were the students of Ben Ellis, a teacher who died in September after a hard-fought battle with cancer.

Many of the young boys and girls who joined McGraw were among the group of 400 students who traveled to Ellis' home to sing and pray with him in September, just days before he died. Ellis taught Latin and Bible studies at Christ Presbyterian Academy in Brentwood, Tenn. McGraw heard of his story through a friend and recognized his battle and life.

"The example of love and kindness that showed in his heart through his teaching has impacted so many of his students, and through them has and will continue to impact the world," McGraw wrote after learning of his passing. "Time well spent Mr. Ellis, time well spent sir … rest now, for you shall be well received."

McGraw started his 2016 CMA Awards performance alone, but by the end, the students surrounded him, holding candles. The CMA Song of the Year brought writer Lori McKenna to tears, and early on it was one of the 50th annual CMA Awards highlights. "Humble and Kind" is from McGraw's Damn Country Music album.

Later, McGraw would join Florida Georgia Line to sing "May We All."

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