Talking turkey: Feathery fundraiser at Highland Hills

<p>Emberlee, 4, and Anthony Reddick, 5, stare down turkey competition "winner" and fifth-grade teacher Sean MacLellan on Wednesday at Highland Hills Elementary.</p>

Highland Hills Elementary celebrated Thanksgiving early this year.

On Wednesday, the school invited parents and grandparents to “The Big Feast,” a lunch complete with turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, a dinner roll and pumpkin cake. While students and family members ate, they were entertained by the antics of a larger-than-lifesize member of the turkey family: fifth-grade teacher Sean MacLellan.

MacLellan was the “winner” of this year’s turkey competition. In the fundraiser, participating teachers — nine this year, in addition to principal Brian Schimel — are assigned an outline of a turkey on display in the cafeteria. Over a two-week period, students and staff can spend $1 to purchase a feather and place it on the outline assigned to a teacher or principal of their choosing. At the end of the event, the winning staff member dons the school’s turkey costume, complete with tail feathers, beak and waddle.

“It was a festive suit, a little warm, but it was a lot of fun,” MacLellan said Wednesday afternoon. “I really got into the groove of the turkey, and I was just glad that I escaped the ax myself.”

This year the competition raised a little more than $200 for the school’s parent group. The money has been earmarked for classroom supplies and projects.

Officials expect the event to return again next year, and MacLellan said he would take on the turkey position again to support the school.

“If I get the most feathers, I would be happy to do it again next year,” he said.

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