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As Sandy Valley Local Schools superintendent David Fischer welcomed staff to open the new school year, he reminded them employees are not just co-workers, they are family.
It's no surprise then that the Sandy Valley family is taking steps to take care of one of their own.
Laura Dotson, a long-time band and choir teacher at Sandy Valley, is in Pennsylvania. She has been at the side of her husband, David, who is recovering from an automobile accident on Aug. 26. David was life flighted to the hospital after a head-on collision with a car that swerved left of center. After several surgeries, his family waits by his side until he is stable enough to be transported home.
To help defray lodging and medical costs, Sandy Valley students have planned fundraising activities to help the Dotsons during their difficult time.
"Mrs. Dotson has always been a big part of the band," said Autumn Johnson, a sophomore in the marching band. "She's our band mama. We all love her so much that we are happy to be doing this fundraising for her family."
During the week of Sept. 12, students were able to pay $1 a day to wear spirit attire. That may have included pajamas, hats, jerseys and neon clothing in addition to everyone wearing red for a "Red Out" on Sept. 16.
Classes were also participating in a change competition. Cans were set out in the cafeteria for donations. Each student of the class with the largest total donations for the week had a chance to win tickets to the Sandy Valley-Garaway football game on Friday, Sept. 23 or the Sandy Valley-Newcomerstown volleyball game on Monday, Sept. 29.
Community members who would like to donate to the Dotson family can send or drop off donations of cash or check written to Laura Dotson to Sandy Valley High School.