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Eileen O'Brien, a Coalmont Elementary staff member, swept both categories of the cookoffs Friday night with her prize-winning chili and cornbread winning two cast iron skillets.

Chili, cornbread, games and prizes warmed the hearts and tummies of staff, students and community, as Coalmont Elementary in Grundy County hosted its annual fall festival last week.

In a news release, school principal Russell Ladd said the school raised funds and school spirit with faculty and staff-sponsored chili and cornbread cookoffs, as well as games for both students, guardians and the surrounding community.

"We wanted to open the doors to our school and host a fall festival that welcomed the entire community and invited participation from more than just ourselves," he said. "The chili cookoff and staff cornbread cookoff provided just that opportunity."

Ladd said that weeks before the event, the Parent Involvement Committee, led by fourth grade teacher Cheryl Smith, met to discuss ways to invite parent and community involvement in the school.

"More parents were involved in the event such as our chili cookoff and corn hole games" Smith said in the news release. "In the future, we plan to sell bricks in the gymnasium that parents, guardians and alumni can paint in memory, honor or to cheer on their favorite players." 

Money raised from Friday's event goes to the school's classroom fund, which will help teachers purchase much-needed supplies.

"We appreciate the support of our parents, grandparents, guardians and the community who came to our fall festival on Fridayand participated," Ladd said. "Thank you all for everything you do for Coalmont."

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