There was something ugly going on at the Greencastle-Antrim Elementary School assembly before the start of Christmas vacation Wednesday morning.
At the beginning of the assembly, members of Susan Wright's special needs class carried Christmas canisters filled with money from the fifth annual Ugly Sweater Contest to Principal Chad Stover.
With money raised by 1-cent votes for the ugliest sweaters and door decorations and $200 in matching funds from two local businesses, the class collected $775.12 for the Exchange Club of Greencastle.
Stover is a member of the Exchange Club and explained the money is used to provide Christmas presents for needy children in the district. This year, the club made Christmas brighter for 204 children.
This is the fifth year for the Ugly Sweater Contest and participation has climbed steadily from 48 percent the first year to 100 percent this year.
"That made my Grinch go away," Wright said at the assembly, adding that just $51 was raised the first year.
"I think it is an incredible school district and I want to support the teachers and give back," said Jenny Stoner, owner of G-A Property Management, who provided a $200 match to the money raised in the Ugly Sweater Contest. Stoner's stepdaughter, Mary Schreiber is a member of the class that sponsored the contest. Blaise Alexander Chevrolet Volvo of Greencastle also gave a $200 match.
*** The contest ***
"Each teacher and support staff member is invited to either bring in their 'ugly' sweater and put it up in their room or decorate their classroom door. Some do both," Wright explained. "As the days go by, students 'vote' on their favorites by putting pennies in collection bins in each participating classroom. The Life-Skills classroom collects all the bins, counts all the coins and tallies up the totals.
"They take great pride in helping, and some are very grateful to probably be on the 'helped' end of the project," Wright said.
This year the Ugliest title went to Katie's Moyer's third-grade class with $35.92 — an 80-cent margin.
*** The assembly ***
Holiday spirits were high at the assembly, with students getting a doughnut treat from the PTO as they entered the gym. Everywhere they were Christmas sweaters — some ugly, some pretty, some lighted, all festive — as well as Santa hats and headbands with reindeer antlers, candy canes and snowmen. There was even a good sampling of Christmas leggings.
Stover, wearing a Clark Griswold "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" T-shirt, reminded the children to use their "assembly manners, although this is an exciting time of the year."
After the Ugly Sweater Contest donation, the assembly continued with boisterous Christmas carol sing-alongs and something special from each grade, including stories and songs.
Contact Shawn Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-762-2151