McDonald’s, teachers team up for kids

Published 3:34 am Tuesday, September 25, 2007

By By ERIKA PICKLES / Niles Daily Star
NILES – Marcia Marker and Kathy Forcier, both kindergarten teachers at Ballard Elementary School, were having a blast making ice cream sundaes and shakes Monday evening.
"I'm just getting everything down. I really enjoy making the shakes," Marker said.
Debbie Okeley, a third grade teacher also from Ballard, couldn't stop laughing as she scooped french fries into a fry holder and tried to keep up as baskets of fries continued to pour in.
"I'm trying. They're going away fast though," Okeley said.
First grade teacher Staci Reith politely handed meals to customers through the drive-thru window and sent them off with a smile.
So, you're probably wondering where french fries, shakes, drive-thru's and Ballard teachers go together, right? Well, if you happened to head to McDonalds Monday for dinner, you have your answer. If not, you missed an evening full of laughs and a chance to see teachers out of their normal atmosphere.
As part of a fundraising event, all 40 teachers from Ballard Elementary School turned in their text books for three hours and, instead of teaching math or science, they got a lecture themselves – food service 101.
During the dinner rush, which packed the restaurant lobby full of families, teachers worked non-stop getting orders to customers.
"The kids really get a kick out of this. They think it's so cool to see their teachers working here. And to see Mr. (Zech) Hoyt taking out the trash, that was something they don't see everyday," Darla Schneider, President of Ballard's PTO said.
Ann Maxwell, hostess at McDonalds, said the restaurant always likes getting involved with community events and offers ways to help local schools.
"We really enjoy being active in the community and like to help out any way we can," Maxwell said.
As part of their hard work, the staff earned 20 percent of all sales during their three hour shift. Schneider said that money is used for a number of different things, including trips, computer items, the end of the year party and t-shirts for different events.
"This is our second year doing it, but this year they are actually letting the teachers work behind the counter. We had so much fun last year, so this year we thought 'why not do it again.' Last year we had a great turnout and I think this year will be well also," Schneider said.
And it wasn't just the families of Ballard students and staff who made a trip out to eat. The normal rush McDonalds would see during dinner also benefited the school.
"We had one guy who was just passing through on his way to Chicago and stopped in for dinner. He was kind of caught off guard with the amount of people in here. We told him what was going on and he stll bought food. So even someone who doesn't live around here helped the school," Schneider said.
While some had trouble keeping up with the rush, it seemed everyone had a great time and experience taking on a new task.
"Mrs. Marker is not giving up that sundae machine," Schneider said.
"She's having way too much fun," Forcier added.