Students receive sweet reward from cops

Englewood Elementary School - Gingerbread

Michaelene Brame’s kindergarten class enjoy a gingerbread man after a week of searching. The gingerbread men were flown in via helicopter from Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

ENGLEWOOD — Kindergarteners at Englewood Elementary School were rewarded with gingerbread men Friday with help from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Students mounted an ‘investigation’ after the gingerbread men they had baked went missing, and in the process, learned their way around their new campus. The baked goods were recovered and delivered via helicopter Friday.

Baking gingerbread men is a 25-year tradition at the school.

‘Our principal (Mark Grossenbacher) came up with this idea (to get the sheriff’s office involved,)’ said Amanda Tannehill, a second grade teacher. ‘Usually it’s the cafeteria person who will find (the missing gingerbread man) or a custodian who will find him in some weird location. He said, ‘No, we need to get the police involved.”

Students made the gingerbread men last week on extra-large cookie sheets and topped their confections off with their own custom ingredients in the cafeteria.

‘When the cook came to take it out (of the oven,) he went ‘Oh, he’s missing,” Tannehill said. ‘That’s how it all begins. (The gingerbread man) jumps out of the oven and we cannot find him. He must be out on the loose. We will go out and find them.’

Detective Rob Crane came to the school to investigate the missing gingerbread men and interviewed the kindergarteners.

‘He went around and interviewed the kids and asked them what they’ve seen,’ Tannehill said. ‘He took notes and the kids all made posters that we saw around campus for the gingerbread man.’

The kindergarteners searched for the gingerbread men in an exercise to familiarize themselves with the school grounds.

This is the second time Grossenbacher used a helicopter in his three-year tenure as principal. He also got parents involved and enlisted the help of Deputy DeWayne Hill, a 28-year veteran police officer and director of the Police Athletic League.

‘If I was going to elementary school and a helicopter came by, I would still be talking about it today,’ Grossenbacher said.

Nicole Henry, a kindergarten teacher in her eighth year with the school, said she approved of the police activity at the school.

‘I think it’s a good way to get the kids to know community helpers,’ Henry said. ‘It fits into our curriculum very well. They get very excited.’

As the helicopter took off, Grossenbacher handed each teacher his/her class’ gingerbread men and the students retreated to the playground to enjoy their sweet, chewy treats.

‘We keep asking Grossenbacher, ‘How are you going to top this?” Tannehill said.

Email: tchang@sun-herald.com

ENGLEWOOD — Kindergartners at Englewood Elementary School were rewarded with gingerbread men Friday with help from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Students mounted an ‘investigation’ after the gingerbread men they had baked went missing, and in the process, learned their way around their new campus. The baked goods were recovered and delivered via helicopter Friday.

Baking gingerbread men is a 25-year tradition at the school.

‘Our principal (Mark Grossenbacher) came up with this idea (to get the sheriff’s office involved,)’ said Amanda Tannehill, a second grade teacher. ‘Usually it’s the cafeteria person who will find (the missing gingerbread man) or a custodian who will find him in some weird location. He said, ‘No, we need to get the police involved.”

Students made the gingerbread men last week on extra-large cookie sheets and topped their confections off with their own custom ingredients in the cafeteria.

‘When the cook came to take it out (of the oven,) he went ‘Oh, he’s missing,” Tannehill said. ‘That’s how it all begins. (The gingerbread man) jumps out of the oven and we cannot find him. He must be out on the loose. We will go out and find them.’

Detective Rob Crane came to the school to investigate the missing gingerbread men and interviewed the kindergartners.

‘He went around and interviewed the kids and asked them what they’ve seen,’ Tannehill said. ‘He took notes and the kids all made posters that we saw around campus for the gingerbread man.’

The kindergartners searched for the gingerbread men in an exercise to familiarize themselves with the school grounds.

This is the second time Grossenbacher used a helicopter in his three-year tenure as principal. He also got parents involved and enlisted the help of Deputy DeWayne Hill, a 28-year veteran police officer and director of the Police Athletic League.

‘If I was going to elementary school and a helicopter came by, I would still be talking about it today,’ Grossenbacher said.

Nicole Henry, a kindergarten teacher in her eighth year with the school, said she approved of the police activity at the school.

‘I think it’s a good way to get the kids to know community helpers,’ Henry said. ‘It fits into our curriculum very well. They get very excited.’

As the helicopter took off, Grossenbacher handed each teacher his/her class’ gingerbread men and the students retreated to the playground to enjoy their sweet, chewy treats.

‘We keep asking Grossenbacher, ‘How are you going to top this?” Tannehill said.

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About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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