Lunch at the Belle Terre Elementary students’ “office”
Alexis Chandlee looks up from her lunch and grins at the camera. Next to her is a very special lunch date, her dad, Jerry Chandlee, one of 400 dads and special guests who took part in “Dads Take Your Child to School Day” at Belle Terre Elementary on Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Chandlee, the police chief at the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine, said it was an honor to be invited, but admitted he couldn’t resist having a bit of fun with his seven-year-old about his availability.
“She has been talking about it and looking forward to it, so I told her I was going to eat in my office today, maybe McDonald’s and she said ‘no dad you’re going to eat at my office.’”
“We had 175 RSVPs,” Assistant Principal Katrina Townsend said. “About 400 showed up.”
Principal Terence Culver and Townsend weren’t about to turn people away, so they quickly implemented plan B.
“We sent the children over to the cafeteria to get their normal lunches,” Townsend said.
Meanwhile, Culver manned the grill cooking hotdogs and flipping burgers into the air for the guest’s lunches.
The 175 who made reservations received a gift bag of information and BTES goodies, including one item 5-year-old Karter Sosa wanted to work on immediately.
A few feet away from the Chandlees, Karter and his dad Kevin Sosa sat on the ground intently working on a “My Dad Is Special because…” as Karter filled in the reasons and dad helped with the spelling.
The bags also included information about Watch D.O.G.S., a national program that encourages the male figures in the student’s life to volunteer at least one day a year in a school activity.
Dads were having as much fun as their children, so much so that the allotted time, 11 to 11:30 a.m. stretched nearly to noon.
“We are so thankful the dads could be here,” Townsend said. “But we have to wrap this up and get back to Bobcat learning.”