Social distancing and school closings prevented the usual photo-op.


But that was not going to tamp down the enthusiasm and passion of the Pre-K class at Wewahitchka Elementary School and teacher Darlene Ake.


And the result was a record-breaking year to help cure a dreadful disease.


Ake, a strong believer in teaching her young charges to look beyond themselves, moved forward early this year with the fifth year of raising funds for the Cure Sanfilippo Foundation in honor Ross and Meredith Davis.


The Davis children, born and raised in Wewahitchka, were both afflicted with Sanfilippo Syndrome, caused by the lack of a specific enzyme which assists in cleaning the cells of the brain.


There is no known cure, afflicted children typically do not live into their teen years and the disease claimed Ross’ life last year at age 11; Meredith will be 8 in July.


But Ake and her class continued to spearhead fundraising for a cure, this year receiving an assist from the parent of one child who made vinyl decals to sell to help the fundraiser.


“We hope to do it again next year,” Ake said.


The community responded, with a final tally of $1,200 raised, twice the amount collected during each of the past two years.


“This, I believe, is the most we have collected,” Ake said. “I believe that including this amount we have collected over $5,000 since 2015.”


Remembering Ross and Meredith and seeking a cure, pandemic or not.