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Friday, May 6, 2016

Students start out year with a bang

Thursday, August 19, 2004

First graders at Jackson Twp. School get ready to send off their balloons during the 8th annual Balloon Lift Off Wednesday afternoon. Left: Brandon Rader, Shayla English, Morgan Jackson, Andy Clingerman, Mackenzie Jackson, Maggie Messmer, John David Fischer and Ethan Stearley.

The multi-colored balloons floated up high then slowly disappeared in the sunny, blue sky Wednesday afternoon as Jackson Township Elementary School had their 8th annual Balloon Lift Off.

Sponsored by the PTO with the help of The Wooden Key, each child had a helium filled balloon. An attached card had the student's name and school address with a request that the receiver notify the school of their location.

Alyssa Rissler, a first grade teacher at Jackson Twp., said the school makes a map of all the different locations.

"We've had them from Ohio, Kentucky and upstate Indiana," Rissler said. "It depends on which way the wind is blowing. The kids really get excited when they get a response."

The school started the event about eight years ago. It was the idea of school secretary, Georgette English. She thought it would be a fun way for the kids to lift off into the new school year.

"Last year we got back nearly a hundred letters," English said. "The farthest away was from West Virginia. We've gotten some wonderful letters."

Last year, Joe Johnson from Virginia wrote to a student named Ethan. "Dear Ethan, I found your balloon! Thank you for sending it. I'm so excited." Joe wrote that when he was a little boy he lived by the ocean and he always wanted to find a message in a bottle. He is 80 years old. "Finding your balloon made me feel like a very excited little boy!" he wrote. "I've finally found a message."

It was obvious that the students really enjoyed the event. Fourth grader Brett Yocom released his blue balloon and watched it float up into the sky until they all disappeared from sight.

"I thought it was pretty cool," Brett said.

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