By DEVIN WEEKS
COEUR dALENE Button-up collared shirt? Check.
Groovy tie to make students smile? Double-check.
A red band on the forehead to catch the sweat as you scratch 150 scratch tickets in just five minutes? Absolutely.
“This is my second year here,” said Erik Olson, principal of Farmin Stidwell Elementary in Sandpoint. “Last year we came here and I looked at all these people and they were dressed up and I thought, ‘OK, well, I might not go that far, but I do know this is a really hot and sweaty job, so the least I could do is at least bring my headband.’ It’s serious, yet fun.”
Instructors and staff members from nearly 60 North Idaho schools participated in some serious fun Wednesday evening during the Idaho Lottery’s annual Scratch for Schools benefit for public schools, held in the Lake Coeur d’Alene Room on the second floor of North Idaho College’s Edminster Student Union Building.
The scratch-a-thon pits teams against each other during a 5-minute frenzy as they completely uncover amounts on scratch tickets to win those amounts for their schools. This is the 18th edition of Scratch for Schools, which has returned more than $1.1 million to public schools in the Gem State.
“It is intense,” said Coeur d’Alene High School speech arts teacher Melody Melton, who wore a Viking helmet with light-up horns.
Unicorn headbands, headdresses, crazy wigs and other school spirit flair was abundant as teachers and staff from schools like Harrison Elementary, Woodland Middle School, Bryan Elementary, Twin Lakes Elementary, Canfield Middle School and St. Maries High School raced to add tickets to their stacks.
“This event is really fun, just ask any of them,” said Idaho Lottery public information specialist David Workman.
Twin Lakes Elementary School Principal Tiffany Melton and her posse wore all black, including sunglasses and hats, for a back in black theme.
Between us, weve probably 10, 15 years experience at this, she said. Were excited. We went to our staff meeting this morning and got cheered on by our staff. They were pretty excited and sent us off with a big bang.
After the event, Workman reported that Betty Kiefer Elementary School in Rathdrum had the fastest scratching talent with 184 tickets scratched in the allotted time, winning the school $516. Boundary County Middle School in Bonners Ferry scratched 179 tickets and won $527.
By the end of the evening, the participating North Idaho schools were richer by nearly $12,000.