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Up, up and away

The students and staff of Open Door School watch as their balloons take to the skies.

The blue skies over Ironton were briefly dotted with dozens of lavender balloons Tuesday morning.

The Open Door School kicked off Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by launching about 70 balloons.

The balloons each had the name of one of the students as well as the address of the school. Every year the students await responses from those who find the balloons.

“I usually get at least one every year, maybe two,” Kendra Kelley, ODS principal, said. The letters have come from as far away as Pennsylvania and Virginia. One year, the school received a letter from a person who found a balloon while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

The goal of the balloon launch and DD Awareness Month is to raise awareness in the community about the school and about developmental disabilities.

Besides the balloon launch, the school is planning several events for DD Awareness Month in March. Today, the school is celebrating Dr. Seuss Day. March 12 from 11 to 3 p.m. will be the annual Chili Fest and Craft Show at Dawson-Bryant High School. Right before the craft show and chili fest will be the 5K Run/Walk for DD Awareness Month. This is the first year for the race, which will start at 9 a.m. at the high school track and end there as well. The March Madness basketball games will be held at 6 p.m. March 22 in the Dawson-Bryant High School gym.

The theme of this year’s DD Awareness Month is “Together.” The month-long celebration is about showing how the school is a part of the community, Tim Nunnery, public relations director for the Lawrence County Board of Developmental Disabilities, said.

Kelley agreed.

“It’s to get the awareness out that our kids are like everyone else,” she said, adding that the students look forward each year to March. “I love March. It’s always a busy month. It’s just a great month.”