Meadow Elementary students gave new meaning to the word "packed" on Friday as they filled the school cafeteria, all 1,230 of them.
Entering single file, they sat on the floor, leaving about five feet between them and the stage and a 1- 2-foot aisle on each side. The rest was inch by inch -- nothing but children from kindergarten to sixth grade.
Remarkably well behaved for such a crowd of students, they were attending a singular event to honor their teachers, but not before dancing to Radio Disney. Students rock and rolled from the waist up and sang along with the music as they waited for the program to begin.
"The kids were great, the teachers were great, it all really came together," said Valerie Walker, radio promotions manager, who had volunteered her time for the event.
Walmart, General Mills and Radio Disney AM 910 coordinated the program to present a helping hand to the school.
"We asked Alpine School District who had the most needs, and they suggested Meadow Elementary," American Fork Walmart manager Ryan Hester said.
"We would like to acknowledge the skills and sacrifices. We know teachers spend a lot of their own money. We want to help them fill that gap," Hester said. "Walmart gives out $4.5 million to 90,000 teachers across the United States so that was our small part of the larger commitment."
Twenty lucky teachers had their names drawn for a $50 reward card to use for school supplies at Walmart. Walmart representatives also brought several boxes of supplies, books, colored pencils and note pads for all of the 53 faculty to use.
General Mills representatives gave $2,000 to the school as well, money earned through its school box top program. In addition, they donated more than 1,000 box tops for the school to use in its program.
"We were excited to see where some of the money from Box Tops Education goes," General Mills retail manager Roy Cammack said.
An estimated total value of $4,000 was provided for the faculty in donations and funds when the assembly was done.
Fifth-grade teacher Rachelle Whipple won a reward card.
"I feel fantastic," she said. "I'm going to buy stuff for my own classroom that I usually spend with my own money, supplies and rewards for the students."
Whipple said she spends the most at the beginning of the school year for student supplies, notebooks, paper and colored pencils to make sure they all have the supplies they need.
"And I buy it all at Walmart, so I'm happy to be reimbursed in a way," Whipple said.
Meadow principal Carolyn Johnson said she got a phone call from Walmart during the summer break about helping the school.
"They wanted to do something special and I said, sure that's great," Johnson said. "I had no idea."
She managed to keep the presentation a secret from the students and teachers until Friday morning.
Larger in population than many junior high schools in the Alpine School District, the well-populated school has been impacted by a common occurrence in northwest Utah County -- growth. Elementary schools are on the planning table for the area, but until those campuses are built Meadow continues to grow.
Johnson said while class sizes are smaller than they ever have been -- there are three portable units, one satellite and a new addition providing 58 classrooms -- she would like to see the next elementary built nearby, and soon, to relieve some of the pressure on the school originally designed for 650 students.
"We certainly do hope so," Johnson said. "Of the three new elementary schools, I'm hoping it's the first one, of course."