TICONDEROGA-Ticonderoga Central School teachers are taking part-time jobs to help their students.
Local instructors will flip burgers and wait on customers during the second annual McTeacher Night Wednesday, May 4, at the Ticonderoga McDonald's. Teachers will work 4:30 to 7 p.m.
Scott Hearburg, owner of McDonald's, has agreed to donate all proceeds from McTeacher Night to the Ticonderoga Elementary School playground project.
Last year's McTeacher Night raised $5,000 for the playground fund.
Nearly 100 volunteers erected a new playground at Ticonderoga Elementary School last fall. It's not complete, though. Money is needed to build a Fort Ticonderoga-style fa ade and complete landscaping.
Hearburg, who served on the Ti Parent-Teacher Organization committee that led the project, is confident the needed $25,000 can be raised.
"One way or another we'll get it done," he said. "People are willing to help. If you give them an opportunity they'll do it."
John McDonald, Ti school superintendent, acknowledged Hearburg as a driving force behind the playground project. He said McTeacher Night has become a popular event with students and teachers.
"Teacher's had a blast making French fries, hamburgers, frappes and McNuggets last year and look forward to another great McTeacher Night in May," McDonald said. "Teachers and school staff will work in the drive thru, clean tables, help prepare food and welcome customers and will be doing it for a great cause-finishing the new playground for their students."
The new playground, which opened to children last November, became a priority for the Ticonderoga PTO five years ago when plans for a building project at the school called for the demolition of the old playground. The PTO went to work raising funds and making plans.
The result is a $137,000 playground - funded by PTO fundraising activities, donations and building project money - that is four times of the size of the old area. Shaped like Fort Ticonderoga, the playground has all new equipment and meets all safety codes.
While the playground is at Ti Elementary School, McDonald and Hearburg stress its is for community use. To make that point, St. Mary's School students were bussed to the opening ceremony and allowed to play on the new equipment.
McDonald said the site, at the front of the school, was selected to make the playground visible and accessible to everyone.
Hearburg became involved in the project when Michele Eicher, PTO playground committee chairwoman, asked him to host a McTeacher Night in 2010.
"The energy was amazing," Hearburg recalled. "It was the largest volume we had ever served in that short a period. Michele asked me to join the committee and I was hooked."