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Teacher Wins Kitchen Makeover For Classroom

By Lindsey Hilty, Staff Writer

WEST CHESTER TWP. — It was a long shot, but after searching for kitchen makeover contests online, Special Education teacher Michelle Langdon filled out an application.

Expecting to get an e-mail box full of junk mail, instead, she received a message from ABT Electronics and Frigidaire.

Her short essay had been selected from more than 1,000 entries, earning her classroom new, high-tech appliances.

"I never thought in a million years we would win," she said. "They said "Your entry really touched our hearts.' I was just matter of fact — not really mushy."

But, her plea for help during a time when budgets are tight, especially so for schools, resonated with judges.

In addition, she sent out queries to businesses asking for help stocking the kitchen, which her students use weekly to learn life skills. Her mailbox quickly started filling up with pots and pans, knives and monetary donations.

"I just tell them what we do, and the money's kind of tight. All they can do is say no."

Next to winning the appliances, the second biggest surprise was receiving free cabinets. She asked a seller on the online classified Web site Craigslist.com if he would donate his cabinets valued at $500. He agreed, she said, glad to make a donation to the district.

Students, she said, have been thrilled by the new appliances.

"I thought it was pretty neat, because it's fun to cook," junior Riley Pennington, 18, said. "I like doing the apple pie."

Junior Ryan Duggan, 18, said the old kitchen was out of date.

"The ones now are new and they put a lot more (features) in."

Principal Dick Hamilton praised Langdon for taking a chance.

"You've got to credit her resourcefulness and her positive approach," he said. "Michelle's done a great job."

Copyright © 2010 Hamilton Journal-News, Hamilton, Ohio, USA.All rights reserved.

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