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ELF Project spreads Christmas spirit

The Lanesville Community School Corp. again played the role of Santa’s helper this year by raising more than $11,000, which was used to buy Christmas gifts for 20 Lanesville families and 46 children ranging in age from newborn to 19 years.
The ELF (Encouraging Lanesville Families) Project started last year out of a desire by the Lanesville Junior-Senior High School Student Council to give back to the community.
‘I’m proud and pleased I could be a part of a program like this,’ Sam Gardner, interim superintendent, said at an assembly Friday afternoon. ‘This is what the spirit of Christmas is all about.’
Gardner praised the school corporation, saying there aren’t too many places left in the country where a school can have the classes of 2010 and 2023 in the same room together.
Students, faculty and staff used some of the money collected to buy Christmas presents for the Lanesville families, taking several of the school’s buses to the Walmart Supercenter in Corydon and loading them with gifts.
During the shopping, it was announced that Walmart donated an additional $3,000 to the project, so the students received an additional $60 to spend (each student shopper received approximately $160 to $185).
These gifts, along with non-perishable canned goods also collected by the school, were piled on the elementary gymnasium floor Friday afternoon for everyone to see the significant amount of goods the school provided.
The project also has helped pay electric bills, purchase gas cards, pay lunch accounts for needy students, purchase cap and gowns for seniors who could not afford them and pay student book rental fees.
The school set a goal of raising $5,000 and 3,355 canned goods. Both marks were easily surpassed with a final tally of $11,347.23 and 4,769 items.
Students had extra incentive to raise money in a separate fundraiser where each teacher’s name was placed on a bucket and the one with the most money in it at the end of the competition had to kiss a goat in front of the entire student body.
For the elementary school, the winners were Barbara Shaw and Nathan Barnickle; at the junior-senior high school, Principal Janet Page, Thomas Sinex and Sharon Rothrock tied. With the goat before them, the five faculty members simultaneously dropped to their knees to swiftly smooch Mocha, a Nigerian Dwarf, to the howls and cheers of students.
To conclude the ceremony, the choir led the school in the singing of a few Christmas classics.
The teacher collecting the most money was Robin Morgan with just less than $400. Lindsay Davis’ fifth-grade class collected the most canned goods, 661.