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Lincoln Charter School students and staff celebrate school choice through an annual celebration including a raffle and schoolwide dance. Lindsay C. VanAsdalan, The York Dispatch

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A "good afternoon" was met with a thunderous "roar" from Lincoln Charter School students — imitating their lion mascot — as they celebrated school choice on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

The annual event, now in its 10th year, kicked off with a round of trivia for raffle prizes.

"I got a bag of candy for this answer!" Anne Clark said. "How old is our school?"

It was a teaching moment, as students learned their charter was 19 years old and its students come from all over York County.

Clark, director of community outreach for Lincoln, said celebrating the school each year encourages students and parents to remember that school choice is important — whether it's public, a charter or private.

It's also about bringing the focus back to students — "making them understand that we put them first," and ensuring teachers know it, too, said board Vice President Renitta S. Franklin. 

Giving back: Franklin said this is her fourth time attending a school choice celebration at Lincoln, adding that the day is an opportunity for parents to spend time with their children in their classes.

And the school further celebrated students by giving back to them during a special raffle.

A national donor, which Clark said she could not name, gave $1,500, which the school used to purchase raffle prizes including glassware, giant elephant and dog stuffed animals, coffee makers, microwaves, candy, York-opoly games and bicycles.

More: York Suburban schools compete in eighth Battle of the Buildings

Clark said kids received raffle entries from their teachers — the better the behavior, the more chances.

A winning student from each grade level received a bike, teachers won baskets of goodies for their classrooms, and household items were won on behalf of parents.

An element of fun: Third-graders Saivaughn Kennedy, Shakira Jamison, Peter Class, Noemi Diaz-Pascual and Saysha G. Robles Ortiz shared their excitement for the event, especially for an annual tradition of a schoolwide dance.

Led by staff and student ambassadors, all students in attendance waved scarves representing the national School Choice Week colors in time to songs such as "Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)" and "Baby Shark," creating a sea of yellow in the school's gymnasium.

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"I think it was so amazing," Noemi said, reflecting on the celebration. "Because everyone got to dance, to sing and to get some prizes for the teachers, parents and themselves."

Fifth-grader and student ambassador Jerrlyan Santiago said she loves going to school, "especially this school — it's fun."

No division: Franklin said what she appreciates most about the celebration is the camaraderie. The students integrate among each other, and there's no division, she said. 

She recalled another moment from a recent event in which students had the opportunity to learn about coming together.

She said the MLK Sunday Supper, held at Lincoln on Jan. 20, showed the documentary series "America to Me," which taught kids they could be resilient despite obstacles such as racism.

More: MLK Supper in York City a platform for new ideas, voices

As parents teach students right from wrong, they will be able to make their own choices, Franklin added.

And it seemed those lessons were already sticking with students.

Jerrlyan and fellow fifth-grader Ryhon Amara spoke about some of the ways they were able to give back during the year as ambassadors, raising money for a children's hospital and helping kids in need by giving them stuffed animals for Christmas.

And while commending the raffle incentive, Jerrlyan also recognized, "You should just be good to be good," not just to win a prize, she said.

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VIDEO: Meet the staff: LIndsay VanAsdalan York Dispatch

 

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