It wasn't pretty, but the reward sure was sweet.

Students who participated in the annual Ranchero Middle School canned food drive earned the opportunity to make special education teacher Katie Long and RMS Principal Cindy Costa into human chocolate sundaes.

Altogether they collected more than 3,000 cans that will help numerous families have a Thanksgiving. Long's class was the biggest producer with her students collecting 1,323 cans. Stater Bros. and others also pitched in.

"Every day at least one person would bring like 100 cans," the proud teacher said.

So on Friday, Nov. 14 Long and Costa donned protective gear - goggles over their eyes and plastic bags over their clothes. Then the students got at it.

First, a bucket of vanilla ice cream was piled on each of their heads. Then students began a free-form sundae-making event. They put on chocolate and butterscotch sauce. They dumped marshmallows and colored sprinkes. The unique works of very sugary art were topped with whipped cream and a cherry on top.
According to head counselor Robert Johnson, the canned food drive will benefit about 20 needy RMS families. The remaining food will be taken to a food distribution center at Our Lady of the Desert Church in Apple Valley.

"We've been doing this for at least 10 years now," said Johnson who has been at RMS since it opened. "We're trying to provide well-rounded education and open them up to what's happening in the real world."

As Costa walked away from the scene of the human sundae, one student affirmed that point.

"This is what you get for having wonderful students," the student said smiling.