LAKE PLACID - "Fabulous."
That's how Gary Ladisic, a fifth grade teacher at Lake Placid Elementary School, said he felt after getting a quick massage on the morning of Wednesday, May 9.
Ladisic was one of many teachers who took advantage of the free service, which was coordinated by the school's FRIENDS group for Teacher Appreciation Week.
Second-graders at Lake Placid Elementary School sell baked goods on May 9 to raise money for the Tri-Lakes Humane Society. The event coincided with Teacher Appreciation Week.
Tim Chien, co-founder of Balanced Bodywork & Massage of Lake Placid, said this was the second year his business set up at the school to help teachers relax while their students hit up the cafeteria for lunch.
"It gives them a great break," Chien said. "The staff and faculty really seem to like it."
FRIENDS is a parent-teacher organization that works with the elementary school to support students, staff and faculty. The group's chairwoman, Desiree Skutt, said the teacher appreciation event was held on one day last year. This year, the group decided to hold events throughout the entire week.
"I don't know if teachers are always told how much we love what they do," Skutt said. "We're just so thankful."
Teachers, staff members and bus drivers all received hand-written notes from students earlier this week, with messages thanking them for their hard work and dedication. On Monday night, parents and students went around to classrooms and left flowers for women teachers and chocolates for the men.
Skutt said parents also tied balloons to the entrance of the elementary school with a thank-you message for teachers.
"Everyone seems to love it," she said. "For one teacher, it bought tears to her eyes."
Second-grade teacher Sarah Graff said the outpouring of appreciation has been great.
"Parents have sent in tidbits and gifts," she said. "This is an amazing school to work in. This week is almost an afterthought for me because I always feel appreciated."
Third-graders Lydia Bullock and Georgia Bickford both said they like their teachers because they make learning fun.
"Sometimes we have to do social studies and learn hard things, but we get to do it in a fun way," Bullock said.
"They let us go outside for some of our projects," Bickford added. "They let us walk around with our friends when we're learning. That's great."
Principal Javier Perez thanked FRIENDS for the support network it has built at the elementary school. He said all of the teachers go above and beyond what's expected of them.
"It's a true community here," Perez said. "The appreciation can't go far enough."
District Superintendent Randy Richards agreed.
"The student achievement speaks for itself," he said. "But there's also the other side of teaching: the caring and compassion side. This is a caring faculty, and this district is very fortunate."
It's been a busy week at the elementary school. In addition to teacher appreciation events, second-grade students ran a bake sale to benefit the Tri-Lakes Humane Society, and high school students visited the building to work on projects.
Contact Chris Morris at 891-2600 ext. 25 or cmorris@