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Chicken pie supper always hits the spot
Wauka Mountain fundraiser still going strong after 86 years
Gov. Nathan Deal visits Saturday evening with Gina Skelton, left, and Peggy Lattanzi at the Wauka Mountain Chicken Pie Supper. - photo by Tom Reed

One school's fundraiser is such a long-standing tradition, it could probably set a record.

Wauka Mountain Multiple Intelligences Academy's annual Chicken Pie Dinner has brought out family and friends, teachers and students, politicians and community members by the thousands for 86 years.

"I think this has to be the longest running chicken pie dinner in the world," State Sen. Butch Miller said.

Georgia's first lady, Sandra Deal, whose children all attended Wauka Mountain, remembers making the chicken pies at home years ago.

"The community ladies told us how to do it, and we did it," she said.

Nowadays the pies are made at the school and served in the cafeteria. They consist of layers of dumplings, light and dark chicken meat, and are topped with a buttery crust. It takes 2,600 pounds of chicken, 200 to 300 volunteers and two weekends of preparation to get the school's biggest fundraiser of the year together.

"It's labor-intense, but there's something about keeping the tradition," Jo Dinnan, Wauka Mountain's principal, said.

The Deals attend the Chicken Pie Dinner every year, noting the way it maintains a relationship between Wauka Mountain and its surrounding community.

"It keeps people in touch with the school itself," Gov. Nathan Deal said. "It continues a sense of community."

Though the honor is usually reserved for older students, Olivia Lattanzi, a third-grader, helped bring chicken pie to-go orders to customers waiting by the cafeteria door.

"It's fun," she said. "You get to get (the orders) out of the trays and get the stickers."

The Lattanzi family has a tradition of participating in the Chicken Pie Dinner. Lattanzi's grandmother remembers attending the event back when it was at Brookton Elementary School, where her father taught. Lattanzi's mother is a teacher at Wauka Mountain, and she anticipates helping out every year, even after she moves on to middle school.

"I can even help when I'm in the sixth grade," she said.

Wauka Mountain just received its charter status last June, giving it more flexibility in the way it approaches teaching.

The Chicken Pie Dinner, which will raise between $10,000 and $20,000, will help will help fund some of their new initiatives. This year the focus is on technology.

"We must make an effort to update technology," Ken Stanley, president of Wauka Mountain's Parent Teacher Organization, said.

Though the dinner is always a success, Stanley said he hoped to attract even more people in the future from other communities.

Miller had a few promotional ideas. Aside from submitting the long-running Chicken Pie Dinner to the Guinness Book of World Records, he said he could fly a plane above the school with a special banner: "Eat more chicken at Wauka Mountain."