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Annual Fall Festival helps raise money for special needs school; Fund-raiser features cow pie bingo, vendors, food

By Staff | Oct 14, 2008

The Fort Myers-based Father Anglim Academy sent in the clowns Saturday for its 4th Annual Fall Festival and Cow Pie Bingo at St. Andrew Catholic Church.

Principal Lori Moreau donned a clown suit and makeup to raise funds for the school. Moreau said the funds will help subsidize tuition costs for the school that caters to children with special learning needs.

“Our kids come to school to receive a special curriculum. Our goal is for them to graduate from high school, whether it’s with us or somewhere else,” said Moreau.

Father Anglim Academy is home to about 70 children ages 6 to 18.

“About half of the kids are from Cape Coral,” Moreau said.

Caroline Mansfield, a parent of one of the school’s students, said the public school system does not have the resources to give special needs students the attention they need.

“They are fabulous teachers (in public schools), but they are overwhelmed,” Mansfield said.

The festival included a dunk tank, bounce house, carnival games, face painting and food, but the biggest attraction and the biggest fund-raiser was cow pie bingo.

A bull named T-Bone was rented for the day and placed in a fenced-in area with square boxes marked out on the ground. People bet $5 per box, and if T-Bone dropped what Moreau euphemistically called a “deposit” in that box, they won a prize.

Mansfield said the academy’s goal is to return students to regular schools if possible.

“The main goal always is to try to mainstream the kids,” Mansfield said.

Children with relatively minor learning disabilities like dyslexia often return to regular schools, while those with more difficult disorders like autism often stay at the school through graduation, Mansfield said.

Moreau said her goal was to raise $10,000 at the festival.