With its McTeacher Night coming up and its sign-up list nearly full, the staff at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School is laying down the gauntlet to the staff members of Newton’s other three elementary schools.
McTeacher Night started up in Newton several years ago when local McDonald’s franchisee, Ginny Blattert, was searching for a way to help give back to the schools. The teachers do everything from frying french fries to cleaning tables. In return, customers are invited to tip them.
In addition, Blattert donates a percentage of the night’s take to whichever building is staffing the event. During the school year, she donates free food coupons to the schools that teachers pass out as rewards for academic achievement.
The staff of Thomas Jefferson will get their chance to raise money for their building as they participate on from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, and they are daring any other building to out fundraise them.
“It’s fun,” a group of teachers said during their lunch break on Thursday.
Farrah Deppe, a third-grade teacher, said she makes sure to tell her students what shift she is working so they can come out and visit her.
“It’s a great time for families to come in and interact with the teachers,” said kindergarten teacher Jennifer Norvell.
“Some people kind of get nervous about coming (to the school),” Deppe added.
The teachers said the younger kids are sometimes shy when they see the teachers outside of the building setting, and older kids sometimes ask them if they are working a second job.
Wanting to be the best at doing a good deed isn’t a foreign concept for TJ’s teachers, as they are the reigning district champs in fundraising for the United Way of Jasper County, and recently raised $1,147.17 after competing in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
While they are competitive, it is within reason as the teachers are using these opportunities to teach their students about the importance of being charitable.
“It’s giving back to the community,” said Paula Lureman, another third-grade teacher.
A lot of credit was given to the school’s principal, Lisa Sharp, for encouraging the community service aspect among students and staff.
“We got a good leader,” said third-grade teacher Megan Frehse.
Woodrow Wilson Elementary School kicked off the annual event last week, Aurora Heights Elementary School will hold its night Thursday and Berg Elementary School’s night takes place on Oct. 21.
All McTeacher Nights are from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at McDonald’s, 726 First Ave. E.
Contact Senior Staff Writer Ty Rushing at (641) 792-3121 ext. 6532 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.