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McTeacher's Night delivers a fun-draiser

by CAROLINE LOBSINGER
Staff Writer | March 22, 2023 1:00 AM

PONDERAY — Tuesday, Kootenai Elementary students got to have it their way.

And that meant seeing their teachers hard at work taking orders, bussing tables, and selling cookies at McTeacher's Night.

"They know that we're going to be here," Kootenai Elementary principal Kelli Knowles said as she manned the door at the Tuesday event, dispensing hugs and smiles and hellos as students and the parents made their way into the McDonald's for the event. "But they just are like, do you even know how to work here? Do you even know what you're doing?"

It's the second time the school has participated in a McTeacher's Night, a fundraiser partnership between the restaurant and local schools. As part of the event, teachers and school staff work the counters, help out, and other assigned duties. Schools receive a donation based on a percentage of sales during the two-hour event and keep 100% of the tips.

When the school was invited by the Ponderay McDonald's to be a part of the event, Knowles said everyone was on board. Everyone from the teachers to classified staff to kitchen staff volunteered to take part.

"Everybody loves it," Knowles said. "Teachers love it. The kids love it. … It's a super fun way for us to get involved and also, the kids think we're celebrities when we're here because they never see us outside of school so it's super fun."

Both the students and teachers love to see each other in a different role and to interact in a way outside the normal school setting, Knowles said.

"Just seeing the kids," she said of what she loves about the event. "They get so excited when they see me outside of school so the best part is seeing their faces light up like, 'Oh my gosh, Mrs. Knowles, she's at McDonald's. She's a person.'"

Fourth-grade teacher Dawn Miller said it's fun to watch students' reactions to seeing them at the counters or wiping the tables.

First, they are surprised to see them outside of the school, and to see them in a different role, Miller said. Then, they realize that they get to tell their teachers what to do.

"They like bossing us around," she laughed.

The Leberman family, among the dozens of families who turned out to show their support said it was a lot of fun to good their teachers working at McDonald's. They did a good job, Desi and Max Leberman said.

Proceeds from the event will help with playground improvements, including an upgrade of its climbing toy and outdoor seating options and tables for students, Knowles said.

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(Photo by CAROLINE LOBSINGER)

Kootenai Elementary kindergarten teacher Todd Riley mans the drive-thru window at the Ponderay McDonald's during a McTeacher's Night fundraising event.

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(Photo by CAROLINE LOBSINGER)

Kootenai Elementary principal Kellie Knowles welcomes students and their families into the Ponderay McDonald's at a McTeacher's Night fundraiser.