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Christmas Miracle at RES

When learning of the opportunity to help a special family, Ringgold Elementary students, staff, families, and partners rallied to make Christmas extra bright for them! Mrs. Deanna Baker, RES Partnership Co-Coordinator, learned from co-worker, Jeanne Dixon, who teaches students with visual impairments, about Layla Shook, a 4-year old girl who suffers from an extremely rare disease called Apert Syndrome. This disease effects the extremities of the body causing bones in her fingers, toes, and skull to fuse. She has had well over 40 surgeries in her short life and has many more to come. She is also on numerous medications. As one would imagine, the medical expenses are exorbitant. However, the Shooks never ask for help, feeling others are likely in greater need. Nevertheless, Mrs. Dixon petitioned Baker on their behalf. In an effort to do something, Baker shared the needs of the Shook family with partners on December 10th. The following week, on Tuesday, December 15th, Annette Vickrey with Elder's Ace Hardware called Baker to share an idea to raise much needed funds for medical expenses for little Layla. Vickrey had connected with Shane Catlett's Modern Woodmen of America organization, sharing information about our school's desire to assist the Shook family. He offered to match up to $500, if RES could plan, implement, and complete a fundraising project before the end of the school year, which was Friday! Baker quickly put things into motion, gaining administrative approval for a last minute snack sale, having students create signs, sending messages to parents and partners, and spreading the word to staff and students. The Love for Layla Snack Sale was set for Wednesday, December 16th, but with such short notice, it was not expected to be a great success. However, the RES family is truly remarkable because baked goods, Little Debbies, cupcakes, juices, and candy appeared in abundance that Wednesday morning. Kenneth Rhymer with Coca-Cola came through with a drink donation, Webb Dentistry made a cash donation, and other partners brought snacks as well. Parent and staff volunteers manned the snack station, taking time to adjust their schedules to do their part for a wonderful cause. There were so many treats that the sale continued on Thursday! Still more amazing, Mrs. Amy Lawson, RES 3rd grade teacher, issued a challenge to all RES staff members to match her $10 cash donation. As expected from such a loving group of people, the RES faculty stepped up and donated close to $300 in cash for Layla and her family. By Thursday afternoon, Baker and Dixon were able to present the family with $1073.46!!! Catlett's Modern Woodmen of America will also contribute the additional $500 to the family before the end of December. Some may say Santa came early for this family or that people were just feeling generous because it is the holiday season. However, Baker shared that she believed it to be more than that, "For something to come together that quickly in so little time and result in such a tremendous outpouring, it had to be a God thing! Children were so responsive to this effort, bringing in 10 and 20 dollar bills to buy $1 worth of snacks, then donating the rest! We were all so moved by our students' and their families' compassion. I know we were able to help this family, but in so doing, we taught our students a valuable lesson. It is truly more rewarding to give than to receive!" So, it was another school fundraising event, one more bake sale at Ringgold Elementary, but it certainly felt a whole lot more like a Christmas miracle!

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Catoosa County Public Schools | P.O. Box 130 | Ringgold, GA 30736 | (706) 965-2297