For their participation in a school-wide fundraiser, a group of Marguerite Vann Elementary students were rewarded with a trip over the school in a hot air balloon.

Students in grades kindergarten through fourth who sold three boxes of candy to raise money for new computer monitors for the school’s computer lab and other technology gathered on campus grounds after hours Tuesday to take their turn in the sky.

It was a first for most, Assistant Principal Jeanne Trawick said, and she hopes that parents involved in Tuesday’s organizing might consider the unique experience for their own events in the future.

"A parent has already approached me to ask about it. They could go in together with other parents to have this for their kids. It’s something different," she said.

The elementary school’s administration and staff arranged for Darrell Weiland, hot air balloon expert out of Bentonville, to take groups of four and five up for around 5 minutes at a time.

Sixty, including some teachers and parents, were able to take a ride.

"Funds raised will purchase new monitors for our computer lab and replace old walkie talkies in our building. We were also able to buy a flat screen TV for our school," said Trawick.

The students’ efforts raised enough funds to replace 30 dated computer monitors and purchase a building set of communication devices for each teacher.

"What we had wasn’t the best for our crisis management system," Trawick said. "Our teachers had old, inexpensive equipment that was purchased at different times. Some may have been 10 to 12 years old."

Tuesday’s reward was made available to students, Trawick said, through the fundraising program School Partners, Inc.

(Staff writer Courtney Spradlin can be reached by e-mail at or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to Send us your news at

Another video is available here.