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Franklin Elementary School Wins Visit From Andy Parker’s "Weather Machine" | Schools

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Franklin Elementary School Wins Visit From Andy Parker’s "Weather Machine"
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Franklin Elementary School Wins Visit From Andy Parker’s "Weather Machine"

One of the most important character education traits taught to students at Benjamin Franklin Elementary School is perseverance and teamwork, which certainly did pay off for the school, as it won a big contest to earn a visit from WGRZ-TV Meteorologist Andy Parker’s popular “Weather Machine.”  Students and staff have been working hard since April 25th when the school hosted an assembly to kick start efforts to win a visit from the interactive weather presentation from Channel 2.  Schools earned “points” through the submission of an on-line drive by mentioning the weather word of the day, and could earn “extra credit points” through student created, weather related, artwork and photos.

According to Parker, Benjamin Franklin Elementary School earned 150,000 votes in 28 days, and won the honor of having the “Weather Machine” visit the school next month.  The initiative to win this visit was spearheaded by teacher Lisa Wdowka.

“This effort brought a great positive energy and teamwork to our building, and brought us all together for one common goal.  I am so proud of how we all worked together,”  said Benjamin Franklin Elementary School Program Supervisor Tracy Spagnolo.

“There was definitely an excitement and energy throughout the halls of our school.  It was also important to use this contest as a way to provide students with a real-life ‘teachable moment’ concerning perseverance and teamwork.  Students and staff worked incredibly hard, and I’m proud of the big effort to bring the ‘Weather Machine’ to Ken-Ton,” said Wdowka.

The race amongst schools from across Western New York was very close in the strong competition to win a visit from Andy Parker and the “Weather Machine.”  Franklin Elementary School was in first place for two weeks but then went back and forth in the lead with Ellicott Road Elementary in Orchard Park for the duration of the entire contest. 

Andy Parker contacted Franklin Elementary School at 8:00 am on Tuesday May 23rd, 2011, stating the school was within 1% of Ellicott Road Elementary School.   After discussion with WGRZ management, it was decided to co-award both schools with the honor of Andy Parker's “Weather Machine.” 

An assembly was held a few hours later in the morning, and at approximately 10:20 am, Parker and WGRZ-TV Photojournalist Mike Luksch announced to all students and faculty that Benjamin Franklin Elementary School would in fact receive a visit from the “Weather Machine.”

Students were not aware that Parker was back stage in the school’s auditorium, ready to make the big announcement, and when he walked out to greet the very surprised audience, the Channel 2 Meteorologist was greeted with screams and cheers.  The “Weather Machine” is scheduled to visit the school in June.

“We are thrilled and looking forward to a great visit from Andy Parker and the very popular ‘Weather Machine.’  Teacher Lisa Wdowka lit the spark and got the ball rolling on the contest, and our entire school community kicked it into overdrive to win,” added Spagnolo.

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