What is the Difference Between A School Vendor and A School Partner?

As a school administrator, an important part of your job includes sourcing external vendors to help keep the school running smoothly. It’s easy to understand the appeal of the lowest-cost option or continue working with the same vendor the person who had your job before you signed ten years ago.

In our experience, many schools searching for vendors are looking for true school partners. Any company can be a vendor, exchanging services or goods for money, but creating a partnership involves much more than a business transaction.

What is a school partner?

A school partner works with your school, not just for your school. When you work with a school partner, you’re both working together toward a common goal.

Ideally, your relationships with your school partners are mutually beneficial. Rather than simply providing your school with products or services in exchange for money, are they giving back in any way? Perhaps this comes in the form of help with a school fundraiser or resources to help you maintain a positive school environment.

When looking for a true partner, it’s important to find a company that holds similar values to those of your school. For example, if your school cares deeply about the environment, find out how your potential school partner is supporting the same cause. Are they using green materials and processes? Are they empowering youth to become environmental changemakers?

Beyond having similar charitable causes, a true school partner shares the same concerns as your school staff. They work with you to keep your students safe, because what’s important to you is important to them, too. 

A vendor that fits these guidelines may indeed be the company your predecessor signed or the option that allows you to save the most money. However, this isn’t always the case. Every once in a while, it’s important to reevaluate your school’s needs and whether your current partner or vendor is still meeting these needs. 

Your go-to school partner

At Edge Imaging, we’ve been in the school photography business for 15 years, so we know all about being a good school partner.

We want to benefit your school. As long as it’s permitted by your board, every photo day with Edge is, effectively, a school fundraiser. Every time a parent purchases their child’s photos, a percentage of that transaction goes back to you, allowing you to continue educating the next generation.

We prioritize giving back to our communities. Empowering youth and being environmentally conscious are important to us, and this is reflected in our own corporate partnerships. We’ve partnered with Tim Horton Foundation Camps to send kids from low-income backgrounds to camp to improve their leadership skills and with TELUS Wise to educate and encourage youth to be their best digital citizen and stay safe online. We also support EcoSchools Canada and have been inducted into the Burlington Hydro Hall of Fame.

We keep your students safe. After photo day, we provide each school with a number of practical products meant to keep students safe: pictorial directories so school staff have a photo identifier of each student, easy allergy and bus lists for admin, and more. We also provide parents with Child Safe cards free of charge.

In addition, we make data security a priority and invest in cyber-resiliency on an ongoing basis. We realize that, as a school photography provider, we’ve been entrusted with housing images and personal data of millions of students nationwide, and this isn’t a responsibility we take lightly. Learn more about the importance of planning for and mitigating cyber risk with your school vendors in our white paper, found here

To top it all off, we’re 100% Canadian owned and operated

Interested in partnering with Edge for your school photo needs this year? Get in touch with us today!
As a school administrator, an important part of your job includes sourcing external vendors to help keep the school running smoothly. Any company can be a vendor, exchanging services or goods for money, but creating a partnership involves much more than a business transaction.
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How to Spend Summer Vacation in Lockdown

Your annual family trip has been cancelled, and you’re wondering if the neighbourhood barbecue will happen. It’s normal to feel disappointed that the plans you were so excited about won’t be happening this summer, but it’s important to try and make the most of a less-than-ideal situation.

Even though we aren’t able to hop on a plane, drive across any borders, or take any other kind of vacation that requires travel or being in typically crowded areas this summer, it’s still hugely beneficial to take time off work and hang out with the family. Even if you’re already working from home, taking a few days away from your laptop will help clear your head and allow you some quality time to bond with your family, among other benefits.

Here are some of our favourite ideas for having a rocking family staycation:

Plan Fun Family Activities at Home

It’s likely you’ve already been planning at-home activities for your kids on a regular basis, but how often have you had the time to participate?

Buy some bubbles from the dollar store, break out the sprinkler, plan a scavenger hunt, or start the competition with cardboard box race cars. With a little bit of creativity, the options are endless, and, by the end of the day, you’ll likely be feeling like a kid again yourself.

If you need some inspiration to get started, check out this fun list by Today’s Parent.

Travel Virtually

Okay, it’s not exactly the same as the overseas trip you initially had planned, but there are a ton of ways you can get your travel fix without ever leaving your couch.

One option is to schedule regular family movie or TV nights with the family. There are plenty of awe-inspiring, travel-themed movies and TV series available on every streaming platform – check out this travel blogger’s huge list of suggestions!

Google Arts & Culture is another platform that can help to ease your family’s wanderlust. Tour world monuments like the Taj Mahal, Macchu Pichu, the Colosseum, and more together from your computer. You can also check out world-class virtual museums like the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, the Van Gough Museum in Amsterdam, and the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Other websites – tourism boards, zoos, and aquariums – are also offering virtual tours. Find more details and ideas here.

Explore Your Local Area

If you and your family are low-risk, you’re following your local government’s safety guidelines, and you feel comfortable, why not venture out a bit further from home for a day? Visit a nearby conservation area for a hike, head to the beach, or spend the weekend camping.

While it may feel a bit strange heading out to do something in public for the first time in a few months, experts say that these activities pose a relatively low risk.

Keep in mind, spending a significant amount of time outside your home does come with risk – so take extra care to make sure you’re able to stay six feet or more from those outside your immediate household. Check your province’s ministry of health guidelines before heading out to make sure you’re informed on PPE requirements.

It’s hugely beneficial to take time off work and hang out with the family, even though typical travel is likely off the table this year. Here are some of our fave ideas for having a rocking family staycation in 2020.
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3 Tips for Taking Perfect Grad Photos (Even During a Pandemic)

Your high school grad picture is one of the most important photos you’ll ever take. You’re expecting it to be one of your most-liked Instagram posts of the year, and you know Mom and Dad will have it hanging up in the living room until they can eventually replace it with your college or university grad photo, wedding picture, or whatever milestone you reach next. Not to mention the fact that it’ll be hanging in the halls of your school for, like, ever

As government restrictions around physical distancing are starting to relax across the country, we’re just as excited as you are to re-start grad photography sessions. That said, it can feel like there’s a lot riding on grad photo day; take the pressure off by getting prepared to take some awesome pics. We know it’s a big deal, so we’ve put together a list of our top three tips for slaying your photo session – even during a pandemic.

Stay Informed

This may not have been the tip you expected at the top of this list, but staying on top of all the details is more important than you might realize. During more normal times, we’d advise this, too, but especially during a pandemic, when government advice and health regulations are constantly changing, it’s crucial to have all the information.

Book your photo session in advance to make sure you get the time slot that works best for you. Pay attention to any emails from your school or the photography provider. They’ll remind you about your photo appointment, explain the safety protocols, and let you know if any details have changed.

On picture day, show up for your appointment 10-15 minutes early for any last-minute touch-ups and to catch your breath before heading to the camera.

Why is staying informed so important for having an absolutely amazing photo shoot?

It’s simple – if you know what’s happening, you have nothing to stress over. You’ll be calm and confident as soon as you’re in front of the camera. Your photographer will appreciate your preparedness, too!

Don’t Be Overly Trendy

Don’t get us wrong, it’s important to feel good about the way you look on grad picture day, but you might want to consider staying with a relatively classic look. Not every trend lives forever.

If you don’t believe us, just look at any school picture from the 80s. Though the hair and makeup styles were very on-trend for the time, this era has become one of the world’s favourites to make fun of.

Make sure your look stands the test of time and keep it simple. 

Know What to Wear

Normally, choosing an outfit isn’t too difficult for grad picture day, thanks to the gown, but “what should I wear?” is one of the most common questions we receive from graduating students.

A white, collared shirt nicely compliments the dark-coloured graduation gown. If you’d like, you can also wear a tie – dark, solid colours work best. This is our favourite look and the one we recommend the most. If you prefer a less traditional look, feel free to wear a tank top-style shirt; this won’t be visible under the V-neck of the gown.

We are offering single-use gowns to students during our studio photo shoots (meaning you won’t be sharing the gown with other students), but you can choose to forego the gown if you’d be more comfortable without it. If you decide to take your photos without the gown, we still recommend wearing a white, collared shirt, or something equally sharp. Patterns aren’t your friend for this photo – stick to a clean, simple look.

Still feeling nervous about grad pictures? Check out our “What to Expect” video!
Looking for more info on how Edge is keeping our students healthy during their photo sessions? Check out this video on our procedures.
We know your grad photos a big deal, so we’ve put together a list of our top three tips for having the perfect photo session - even during a pandemic.
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We know your grad photos a big deal, so we’ve put together a list of our top three tips for having the perfect photo session - even during a pandemic.
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Staying Home? Here’s How to Stay Productive

While you’re doing your part and practicing social distancing, you’re going to be spending a lot more time inside at home. It’s easy to get into a slump and lose motivation to do much of anything.

The key to staying sane while self-isolating is staying productive. This doesn’t mean you have to have a plan for every minute of every day. But even checking off just one to-do each day might help you feel accomplished and set you up for success once we’re all let back out of captivity! Here are a few tasks you can keep yourself busy with over the next couple of weeks:

Get Your Taxes Done Early

Try to find the silver lining here: We’re being encouraged to stay home just as the tax deadline is approaching. 

Okay, there are better things to get excited about right now – decreased air pollution, companies offering freebies, and everyday people doing good things to help those who need it – but you’ll have to get your taxes done anyway. Think of this as your opportunity to get ahead of one of your chores. 

Do Your Workouts

One amazing way to reduce stress and anxiety (two emotions which are likely high right now) is to get moving. You don’t need gym access or hours of time to dedicate to a workout, either.

Plenty of free, at-home, bodyweight workout videos are available online. Choose from activities like HIIT cardio, yoga, Pilates, bodyweight strength training, Zumba, and more – whatever is most likely to get you exercising. 

If you’re working from home, find a shorter video to keep you active during your lunch break. Just ten to fifteen minutes is all you need to begin to feel the benefits!

Spring Cleaning

If Marie Kondo has taught us anything, clearing your space has more benefits than you might initially think. 

The state of your home can actually impact your mental health. Decluttering your space helps to declutter your mind and is another way to bring stress levels down. Not to mention it may be a bit of a workout in itself!

Organize Photo Albums

Spend some time reminiscing on vacations, family gatherings, and pictures of the kids when they were little. Print out your favourite photos and put them in an album. No printer? No problem – some great apps like Chatbooks exist to help families document their memories. Simply upload and organize your photos, and they will print and ship a memory book to you.

If you’re feeling creative, grab the kiddos and put together a family scrapbook!

Missing any schoolyear memories? Edge Imaging securely archives student photos, so it’s not too late to order! Visit our ordering site here.

Staying home and self-isolating with the kiddos can be hard. Stay productive while staying home in order to stay sane.
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3 Affordable Resources for Learning At Home

Parents and students across the country are dealing with school closures and government advice to stay home as much as possible. Just because schools are closed doesn’t mean the learning needs to stop – trust us, the kids will get bored pretty quickly if it does!

Luckily, formal classes aren’t the only place to learn new things, and the alternatives don’t have to be expensive. Check out these free or low-cost ideas for new ways to keep the kids learning while you handle your tenth video conference of the day:

Check Your Library’s Online Resources

Your local library may be closed for the time being, but many are providing their communities with access to just as much information online as you could in person! With a library card and a free online account, you’ll likely have access to tons of ebooks, audiobooks, online newspapers, and book clubs.

Some libraries may even be able to provide free courses for teens and adults through websites like Lynda.com. Check the resources section of your library’s website to get reading and learning!

Learn A New Language

Having the ability to speak multiple languages helps improve decision-making skills, keeps the mind sharp (even into old age), and will eventually provide your child with additional job and career opportunities.

In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to learn a language from home. Check the app store on your smartphone or tablet for language learning apps. Whether your kids prefer learning a language to be a game or a more serious, classroom-style experience, you’ll find options for them to learn a variety of languages from the comfort of your living room, completely free or for a small fee.

Trying to limit screen time? Start small…together with the kids, write out some flashcards of everyday objects and place them accordingly throughout the house.

Find Out Your Family History

Ever wonder what your grandparents’ grandparents were like? How and when exactly your ancestors arrived in Canada? Whether you have any heritage from a country you didn’t expect?

Now that you have a bit more free time, gather the family together to learn more about where you came from. Sign up for a free trial at Ancestry (check to see if your library offers free Ancestry accounts, first!) and get searching.

Turn it into a fun project for the kids by having them build out a family tree or write up a biography on a specific ancestor. Take the opportunity to help them learn more about your family’s countries of origin, too, whether that means learning a bit of the language or having a fun family night in the kitchen cooking up a local dish.

Luckily, formal classes aren’t the only place to learn new things, so social distancing can still be educational. Check out these free or low-cost ideas for new ways to keep the kids learning while you handle your tenth video conference of the day.
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How to Spend Family Time During Social Distancing

Spending a couple of weeks at home might sound like a relief from busy everyday life and, for some people, the idea can sound downright exciting! But when you factor in that the “retreat” from society wasn’t a planned vacation you had time to prepare for, you can’t spend the time visiting friends and extended family or travelling somewhere sunny, and that all the places your kids love to visit are closed, a couple of weeks starts to look a lot longer.

So, how do you avoid 2+ weeks of the kiddos watching streaming services from morning ‘til night? Try scheduling a couple of evenings each week for a fun family activity.

Here are a few of our favourite ideas for when you need to turn off the TV or video games and get the fam together for a bit of quality time.

Cook Dinner Together

If you want to keep the kids busy for an hour, encourage them to appreciate healthy, home-cooked food, and get some help in the kitchen. This one’s a no-brainer!

Do a quick online search for kid-friendly recipes and get cooking! Classic kid favourites like spaghetti and meatballs are simple enough to keep those little hands busy.

Don’t be afraid to get a bit more adventurous with your recipes, either. Even if your kids are picky and claim not to like the meal you want to make, remember they’re more likely to try eating something they had a hand in making themselves.

Have A Game Night

Dust off those board game boxes, make some popcorn, and let the competitive spirits out!

If your kids are younger, game night is a great way to teach them how to be good sports. It can also teach them important life skills like patience, how to take directions, and how to take turns. Many board games also give kids the opportunity to learn how to strategize and learn from their own mistakes.

Organize Family Memories

Remember that family trip to Florida when the kids were little? They might not. Gather everyone together to go through some older photos on your phones, on your Dropbox account or housed on your social media accounts.

Once you’ve had your fill of reminiscing, choose your favourite pictures and print them at home for a fun arts and crafts project: building scrapbook pages together! Have every family member take charge of a specific page – for example, one person can design a page for a specific family vacation, one for events with the extended family, and one for documenting how the kids have grown year over year (we think school portraits are the perfect way to show this off). Personalize your pages by decorating with stickers and coloured construction paper cut-outs.

If you don’t have a printer at home, why not build your scrapbook digitally? Upload your favourite photo memories to a service like Chatbooks, where you can organize your photos and add captions and designs to the pages.

Missing any schoolyear memories? It’s never too late to order your digital or printed photos with Edge! Visit our online ordering site to get started today.

Social distancing is the responsible choice to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Use this as an opportunity to spend quality time with your family! Here are a few of our favourite ideas.
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Unique March Break Ideas for Kids

March Break is coming up quickly. For kids, this is super exciting: it means a whole week with no school! For parents who stay home during March break, getting some extra family time with the kids is fun, but there’s also the daunting task of keeping them entertained for a whole week…and stay on budget!

With a bit of planning, though, it’s easy to find enough free or cheap activities to keep the kiddos busy every day without ever having to hear the dreaded phrase “I’m bored”. We spoke to some industry experts to pull together a fun list of unique ideas for your kiddos to try during March Break:

Get Them Outside

  • Go for walks in the snow or try snowshoeing: Let the kids get burn off some energy by being outside! Going for a family walk will help your kids’ physical development and emotional well-being, as well as give you an opportunity to talk and connect with them. For something a bit different, try snowshoeing.
  • Hold a snowman-making contest: Invite over a couple of the kids’ friends and let them get to work building snowmen. Decide on a theme and give extra points for props and size. It’s a great way to combine physical activity with creativity.

Keep Them Creative

  • Encourage writing: The more students write, the more they develop their creativity. Writing also helps kids develop self-expression, self-confidence, and communication skills. Check out our personalized notebooks; they come with plenty of blank pages, writing prompts, and spaces for doodling and colouring.
  • Have them produce & perform a play: Parenting coach Elisabeth Stitt suggests gathering siblings and friends to write, produce, and act out a play to whatever audience they can gather. “With younger kids (3-6), they might just act out a story they know.   With kids 9-13ish, they could take multiple days to write a sophisticated script and to paint/construct scenes and props,” she says.
  • Use snow to create art: Bring the outdoors inside to let your kids explore their creativity. We love this idea for salt snow art!

Get Them Thinking

  • Board games: Bad weather might mean playing outside isn’t an option on a particular day, but the kids can still have fun inside without gluing themselves to a screen. “Board games have come a long way from Candy Land and Monopoly. There are some big-budget, highly produced games that can rival video games in terms of aesthetics,” suggests Bryan Truong of GameCows. “One of the newest trends in the board game world are Legacy games. The games themselves evolve and change after every playthrough. That means that every box will be a completely unique experience, and actions performed in the previous rounds will affect future playthroughs.”
  • Puzzles: Good old-fashioned puzzles are a fun way to keep kiddos occupied at home during bad weather. The best part is that they come in different levels of difficulty to challenge and assist with the development of kids at any age.
  • STEM toys: “While STEM toys are a little newer to the toy scene, they are a great way to keep the learning going in a fun and engaging way,” Angela Poch of Fun.com tells us. “STEM sets can involve kids in a variety of activities, from chemistry and science to math and coding.”

Get Them Trying New Things

  • Start a business: Is one of your kids a real go-getter? Leah Remillét, founder of The CEO Kid, has created a fun way to help older kids stay entertained and earning money of their own by starting their own business! She says, “Inside the CEO Kid box they’ll have everything they need to start thinking like a CEO including access to an online portal that will help them take their idea and turn it into an OPEN sign. They could be earning money plowing sidewalks by the end of the week!”
Playing outside, crafts, writing...we guarantee you'll find a unique way to keep your kids busy this March Break.
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Why Take Spring Photos?

Fall picture day has come and gone, and you have almost another full year before you need to get your kid ready for another day of school pictures…and then you see a flyer for spring photo day come home in your kid’s backpack.

The idea of spring photo day can seem a bit strange to some parents – and we don’t blame them. Spring pictures are a relatively new thing in the school photography industry and if you don’t understand why they’re so great, you may not believe they’re worth doing.

There are plenty of reasons to love spring photo day, but here are some of our favourites:

It Raises Money for the School

Almost every school could do with a bit of extra fundraising, and we’re happy to step in and help where we can.

Here’s how a spring photo day school fundraiser works: Our photography team comes in and takes care of all the hard work – the school admin team barely has to do anything. Then, after proofs go home, parents have the opportunity to order any of the fun, casual images of their child, and the school receives a percentage of each sale. 

It Documents A Mid-Year Point in the Child’s Life

We like to think of a child’s school pictures as a way to document their growth. If you take your kid’s school pictures from junior kindergarten to grade 12 and line them all up in a row, you end up looking at 14 years of their evolution.

The thing is, particularly in the elementary school years, kids can grow and change a lot from one fall to the next. This is where spring pictures come in handy – they serve as a memory from the mid-point in each chapter of their story.

It Allows Students to Have A Bit of Fun

We know fall photos have a reputation for being a bit traditional, but spring photos are where students have the chance to let their personality shine!

During a spring photoshoot, students are photographed standing up and have more relaxed options for posing. Spring photos are also taken on green screen backgrounds, so hundreds of fun images are available to choose as the photo background. Plus, they make the perfect addition to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts!

Order your spring photos online today!
Raise money for your school, let your kid have fun, and receive a mid-year memory with your school spring picture day.
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How to Make Grad Photos Run Smoothly

High school graduations may not begin for a few months, but grad photo season is already upon us! It’s one of our favourite times of the year, but we know some school staff can find it a bit stressful.

Luckily, we just so happen to consider ourselves experts at graduation photography. We want to make grad photo days feel like a breeze for our school partners, so we reached out to our professional graduation photographers to find out their best tips for running a smooth grad photo day.

Keep Reminding Students About Photo Day

This is one tip all our photographers agreed upon: Repeatedly remind students when and where grad photos are being taken and how they can sign up for their session. 

“I get a lot of students saying ‘I didn’t know grad photos were happening’, especially toward the end of the week after their friends had them done,” says one of our photographers. “Run announcements, make use of the flyers we provide, and ask teachers to talk about it in homeroom classes.”

Senior year is busy for graduates – they’re focusing on postsecondary applications and keeping their grades up. It’s easy for details to slip their mind. By talking about grad pictures frequently, hanging up posters, and handing out hard copy reminder notices, students are more likely to sign up for their photo sessions early and avoid any last-minute chaos.

Encourage Students to Come Ready 

Encourage your students to come to school ready for pictures – maybe this means they’re already wearing their favourite tie or they’ve already made sure their makeup is on point. This way, only touch-ups are required before they sit for their photo session.

When students are ready to go as soon as they get to the camera, it keeps the day running on time for everyone. 

However, sometimes students aren’t certain what “ready” means when it comes to grad photos. We’ve put together a video for your grads with answers to every question they might have around photo day.

Stay Informed

Just as it’s important to ensure students stay informed, make sure your admin team is up-to-date as well.

Stay in touch with your photographers and your school representative from your photography company. Make sure you know what the students’ options for posing are, as well as where the photographers are set up so you can easily answer any questions from your students.

Your photographer will also email you a schedule of all the appointments for each day so you’re always in the loop.

Looking for a new grad photography provider? It’s not too late to switch to Edge. Contact us today!

Hosting grad picture day at your school can be a daunting task, but it's much easier to stay organized with tips from professional photographers.
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3 Ways to Raise School Spirit

Who doesn’t want their hallways bursting with school spirit? You want everyone to be proud of where they spend most of their time during the school year. In fact, a high level of school spirit has been shown to help students perform well academically and makes them happier in general.

Unfortunately, a lot of students may have a hard time feeling particularly excited about coming to school every day. 

Luckily, raising school spirit may be easier than you think. With just a bit of planning, your school can have a stronger sense of community in almost no time. Here are some of our favourite ideas:

Hold a Pep Rally or Spirit Day

You know this from movies and TV shows: pep rallies never fail at getting staff and students together to cheer on the school’s sports teams before a big game. Pep rallies aren’t just for high school students, either, and cheerleaders or football teams aren’t necessary ingredients.

A spirit day may be better geared toward elementary and middle schoolers. Encourage students to wear school colours, organize some intramural sports games that everyone can take part in, and offer a pizza lunch. Go big and rent bouncy castles or just pick an easy theme for dressing up. Have you ever met a kid who didn’t love a PJ day?

Pep rallies and spirit days are great ways to raise school spirit. The students get a break from classes for the afternoon, have a chance to socialize with their classmates and cheer each other on while having fun. Including a unifying activity is always a win; you could make it a day of service in the community or host your own colour run. The options are neverending.

Start a Yearbook

Document how fun this year was with a school yearbook. Help your students remember their classmates and teachers, their teams and clubs, and even incorporate candid shots from school events.

Creating a fun yearbook promotes your school to your students similar to the way marketing and branding promote a corporate company.

Encouraging students to join the yearbook committee and be a part of the production process can even help them prepare for their future schooling and/or careers.

Create More Extracurricular Activities

If you have staff members that are willing to supervise, start new clubs and teams to encourage students to get more involved with the school!

Have teachers survey their classes to find out what the most in-demand activities are and look into implementing one or two of the most popular ideas. Maybe it’s a lunchtime intramural basketball “league” or an after school language club.

Check out this list of school club ideas if you’re in need of a little inspiration!

Raise school spirit with 3 of our fave ideas - no cheerleaders necessary :)
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