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Top scorers earn slice of off-campus dining
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Inside the limousine before they buckled up, is one of five groups of students from Colony Oak School headed for lunch away from their campus as a reward for doing so well in their testing. In the front row, seated, from left are Michael Robustelli, Loren Reyna and Landen West. In the back, from left, are Kailey Tijero, Sarah Rinne, Natalie Betoshana and Sara Machado. - photo by GLENN KAHL

Going to lunch in a limo in exchange for the best test results in the STAR testing was a pact made between the Colony Oak Elementary School students and their former principal Amy Carter.

This year’s new principal Marlon Gayle said at the onset of joining the Colony staff that it was a promise he was going to respect and fulfill for students testing at the top ranking in the school to send some 70 students to lunch in a black and white limousine

That promise was fulfilled last week when a Dream Limousine Service vehicle pulled up to the front of the Murphy Road campus at 11:45 to take the first of five separate groups to Pizza Plus in downtown Ripon.  The restaurant staff had their times scheduled, making sure each set of hot pizzas would come out of the oven at about the same time the children would pile out of the vehicle at their rear door.

Asked why they were getting to go to pizza, as the first group stood at the school’s circular driveway, Jacob Thomas trumpeted, “Because we’re awesome.” That brought laughter and cheers from his friends.

It was an “at will” seating arrangement in separate dining rooms where boys sitting with the boys and the girls sitting with the girls.

Principal Gayle kept a close eye on his students by following the limo at a distance in his car and being there when they got into and out of the vehicle at the pizza parlor and again back at the school.  In the pizza parlor he was there to guide them to the group dining rooms to see the regular diners were not interrupted at their tables.

The event appeared to go perfectly with the last wave of learners returning to the campus at about 1:30 to get back to their classrooms.  Colony Oak has scored among the highest schools in the county in the STAR testing for more than a dozen years.