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Norwalk School Collects Big Check

All of Columbus Magnet Elementary School was on hand to accept a $500 Thank-You prize at its all-school assembly Friday. Instead of donning traditional Halloween garb, staff and students dressed up in 1980s fashions to celebrate the school's 30th anniversary. Pop stars, "Flashdancers," preppies with sweaters tied over their shoulders and punk-rockers sat on the gym floor and watched as John Falcone, president of Main Street Connect and a former Columbus parent, presented the check.

"Part of our mission is to support the communities that we're in," said Falcone, publisher of this website and nine others in Fairfield County. Columbus won the prize in Main Street's Better Schools Bonanza promotion, after getting at least 100 people to register on the website. Watch Falcone's presentation online .

"This shows what a community we are. Our parents are spreading the word about this to help our school," said Emily Lopez, the Columbus principal who was dressed in a cutoff sweatshirt, leggings and leg warmers. Jimi Napoli, PTO co-president, said the group sent fliers home in all the kids' backpacks and is promoting the contest heavily on Facebook.

Kathy Oberst, the other PTO co-president, called the prize "unexpected money" and is hoping to put it toward a "fun community event."

"This was definitely easier than planning something to make the same money," she said.

Columbus became the third school to receive a Thank You prize. Jefferson Science Magnet School and Miller-Driscoll School in Wilton received their checks last week. The promotion will culminate with a $10,000 first prize and $5,000 second prize to the schools that get the most votes. You can continue to register and vote for your favorite school until the deadline at 11:59 p.m. Nov. 15.

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