By Greg Gelpi
A run of the mill public school lunch was replaced with a limousine ride and a free meal at an area restaurant for a few hard- working students.
Kendrick Middle rewarded its top fundraisers by chauffeuring them in a decked out stretched black suburban to Buffalo's restaurant for lunch after the school raised more than $17,000 during a 10-day campaign with half going to the school.
"I just know a lot of people," Markia Dallas, the top salesperson in seventh grade, said, disclosing her sales secret. "I always win."
The fundraiser involved students collecting orders for various gift items, such as cheese and candy for Christmas.
The top sixth-grade salesperson last year, she raised $332 this year. Celebrating not only her win, but her 12th birthday as well, she attended the lunch with her mother Marvena Dallas.
Raising more than half of the money in his homeroom class, Gregory Hill pulled in $757.50 in sales. In comparison, the 28 students in his homeroom raised $1,394 total.
The top selling classroom was that of Deidre Thomas, who collected $1,426.
"We recognize athletes on the field," Principal Dan Ray said. "This is just another way to recognize students."
Other winners were top sixth-grader Maurice Griffin with $452, top eighth-grader Rose Mendez with $169 and sixth-grader Jasmine Harris with $213.50.
As school funding drops, student enrollment continues to climb, Vice Principal Steve Hughes said.
"We're the largest middle school in Clayton County," he said. "We're larger than some high schools."
Swelling to about 1,450 students this year, Kendrick added six temporary buildings to its field of 21.
Each modular comes with desks and chairs for the students and teacher, but little more, Hughes said. The money raised by the students will be used by the school to equip the classrooms, as well as buy general supplies, such as paper and ink.
"All of it goes into the classroom," Hughes said.
Last year, the money purchased an automated calling system, which calls each Kendrick parent with a message in case of an emergency.
While helping with their own education, students also learn life skills, like handling money and responsibility, Hughes said.
A Diamond Classic Limousine provided the limousine. Both A Diamond and Buffalo's are Partners in Education.
The school will hold another fundraiser in the spring, collecting orders for spring holiday gifts.