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Past Principal’s Principles

Principal’s Principles, May 2021


Dear Gayton Families:

May brings anticipation of the last days of school, summer vacation, and planning for a new school year.  After a most unprecedented 2020-21 school year, we also look forward to “a return to normal”. That said, we have much to be proud of as a school community for navigating the unknown.  We have met the challenge together with grace, unity, and a continued focus on putting children and learning first. GREAT JOB!

Below are a few important items for May.

Best wishes. Kirk Eggleston, Principal


Thanks to our PTA for coordinating a very special week to recognize our wonderful teachers, May 3-7!  Thanks also to all who contributed to the PTA fund that will be providing teachers with generous gift cards.

Monday–Bagels and sweet treats!

Tuesday– Lunch provided by school administration.  We will also be having a Watch Party for our New Teacher of the Year (Hayley Rosson) and Teacher of the Year (Jill Harrell).  Mrs. Harrell is one of 5 finalists for the Henrico County Teacher of the Year.  We will find out today if she will represent all of HCPS!  You can also watch the event today, May 4 at 4 p.m., via the HCPS website ( or Facebook page.

Thursday–The Local Cup coffee truck will be at Gayton for teachers from 9-10:30.

Friday– Coke/Root beer floats and salty snacks after school!


The PTA is starting the planning process for the 2021-22 school year and needs to hear from YOU!! Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey to help with next year’s planning.  Those who complete the survey may choose to enter a drawing to win one of four $25 Amazon gift cards by providing contact information.  **All responses will be kept confidential**


Testing for grades 3-5 is planned for this month. You will soon receive a schedule of tests from your child’s teacher.


To develop a more inclusive and welcoming school culture that is culturally representative of all our families, we will pay tribute to the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched America’s history and are instrumental in its future success.


This is an opportunity to promote mental wellness, fight the stigma of mental illnesses and increase access to care. Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day will be observed on May 9, 2021 to highlight the resilience of children fighting mental illnesses and the importance of mental health to a child’s development. As Mental Health Awareness Month is observed in the midst of a global pandemic, prioritizing mental health is more crucial than ever.

Mental Health America developed this year’s toolkit by building on its 2020 theme of #Tools2Thrive.
The goal of this theme is to provide practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health
and increase resiliency.

The following resources may be helpful to you and your family.

Tools2Thrive: Accepting Reality

Tools2Thrive: Processing Big Changes

Tools2Thrive: Adapting After Trauma and Stress

Tools2Thrive: Taking Time for Yourself

Tools2Thrive: Dealing with Anger and Frustration

Ten Tools for emotional wellness.
The Henrico County Public Schools’ Bridge Builders Academy Session: Youth Mental
Health during COVID-19: Guidance for Caregivers
is scheduled for Monday, May 10, 2021 at 6 p.m.
featuring Dr. Bela Sood from Virginia Commonwealth University and Children’s Hospital of

Henrico County Public Schools has a school-based mental health team of school counselors, school
psychologists, and school social workers assigned to support each school. Staff and families at Gayton are encouraged to contact Jessica Fisher, school counselor. 



Principal’s Principles, April 2021


Dear Gayton Families:

Spring is here!  After a long winter and unprecedented year, warm weather and brighter days are ahead of us.  We hope you have an enjoyable spring break with your family. Whether you travel or stay at home, a week off from school offers quality family time that is so valuable to your child’s development.  Time for fun and play is integral to raising kids who are well rounded, happy, and self-motivated.  Adults deserve this too!

A reminder that Friday, April 2, is a half day for students. Dismissal is at 10:30 AM. April 2 is also the end of the third marking period.  Report cards will be available to view in the Parent Portal starting April 26th.

Upon our return to school April 12th, we have many items to prepare for:


April 4: Deadline for nominations for the open PTA Board positions

April 16: Peep Diorama Contest entries due

April 20: PTA General Meeting / Contest Winners will be announced

April 30: LAST day to order a yearbook


Kindergarten registration is scheduled to begin on Monday, April 12th across the division and the region.  There will be a special VIP Registration for current Pre-K to register on April 1st.  The theme of Kindergarten Registration will be “Spring Time Is On Time”.

In order to ensure staff and parents remain safe, Kindergarten Registration will include a process where parents may complete registration components online and then complete the registration process with a 1:1 in-person appointment at the school.  Additionally, parents may schedule a 1:1 appointment at the school to complete the entire registration process in person.


Gayton will be having a Virtual Career Day! We are looking for those who would like to share their talent and enthusiasm for their job with our Gayton students.  If you are interested in being a presenter, or know anyone else who would, please complete the google form below.  Although this Career Day will look different we have a unique opportunity to truly experience what a work day looks like for you! Please complete this form by this Sunday, April 11th.  Once you have submitted the form you will be sent a link to record your Flipgrid video which will be due no later than Friday, April 23rd. If you have any questions please contact Ms. Fisher or Mrs. Huff.


Plans for Summer Academy 2021 are well underway!  Summer Academy 2021 offers a unique opportunity for our currently enrolled Pre-K to Grade 5 students.  At no cost to HCPS families, learners have the opportunity to receive teacher-led, in person or virtual learning in literacy and mathematics, along with social emotional learning.  Reading and math activities will include whole class instruction in addition to small group instruction to meet students’ individual needs.

Elementary Summer Academy learning is Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  July 12 to August 5.  Families have the flexibility to attend the entire four weeks, or they may attend a two-week session, July 12-July 22 or July 26-August 5 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Breakfast and lunch will be served, and transportation will be provided.

In person Summer Academy will be held this year at Gayton! Registration begins April 12.

Please indicate at this link if you would like us to provide you with additional Summer Academy Information.

SOL Testing

We will be preparing for SOL testing (grades 3, 4, 5) to be administered in May/June. This year virtual students will take the Virginia Remote Progress Test (VRPT) if opted not no take the SOL test in person for COVID-related reasons.  We will use important data from the SOL and VRPT to identify individual student strengths and gaps for targeted instruction next school year.  We will also use data to identify grade level trends/needs.  Virginia allows parents to opt their children out of any standardized testing. If you have questions or concerns about these tests, please contact Mrs. Reeves, associate principal and testing coordinator.


Kirk B. Eggleston, Ed.D.

Principal, Gayton Elementary

Henrico County Public Schools


Principal’s Principles, March 2021

Dear Gayton Families:

On March 13, 2020, Covid-19 affected our community in a most significant way.  In a year when we were disappointed that we had no snow days, we found ourselves out of school for the following 12 months! Looking back, none of us could have anticipated such duration, nor could we have imagined what school might look like in a fully virtual environment.  There were tears of joy and sadness as we ended our year with a parade through every Gayton neighborhood.  Who knew we would be learning from home for this long?

While the pandemic has at times been scary, frustrating, lonely, and politicized, it has been a shared experience for us all with many silver linings.  I believe our community’s common challenges with Covid-19 have helped us to recognize what matters most — family, friends, communication, character, and the value of public education. We have learned to be more flexible, innovative, and resilient. What our teachers were able to do virtually–because they had to–is nothing short of amazing. They are creative, industrious, highly trained professionals.  What our students have learned through self-direction and sheer motivation–because they had to–will undoubtedly give them fortitude throughout their lives. They are critical thinkers and problem solvers who appreciate the importance and gifts of learning.

We have much more to navigate as our community moves forward through Covid-19, but I am ever more confident that we will be better for it.  Our teachers and students are now learning in hybrid or “parallel” environments at school and virtually, dual modes of instruction that will diversify instruction ongoing to better meet the unique needs of our students. Summer very well may be seen as a time for more universal educational opportunity.  Will video games remain less exciting than street hockey or swing sets? I hope so.

Have a great month of March as we continue this productive and positive school year.  Thank you as always for your partnership and involvement in your child’s education. Please see weekly Friday Follow Ups about upcoming events, including more fun and engaging events planned by our ever-supportive PTA. Thank you, Gayton PTA!


Kirk Eggleston, Principal


Principal’s Principles, February 2021


Dear Gayton Families:

We hope you and your kids have enjoyed the snow.  As we weather winter, it is so important for our kids to get outside, play, and have fun. The same must be said for how we can help them to be resilient through the pandemic. This long, unprecedented experience has no doubt been difficult for them (and all of us). We should be very proud of how our school community has rallied with virtual instruction and made the best of our shared situation. That said, it has not been easy for students and teachers (and parents) to be physically separated. Please know we are here to assist your family socially, emotionally, and academically. Teachers are offering midyear conferences, and you can always reach out to Miss Fisher, school counselor, Mrs. Reeves, associate principal, or me to hear and address your concerns. Perhaps the silver lining of this experience is that we all recognize the importance of public education, teachers, instructional resources, and a strong school community to the growth and well being of every child.  School matters!

We look forward to having a hybrid of in-person and virtual learning very soon.  The School Board will soon make a recommendation for return to learn date.

Please see important February events below.

Kirk Eggleston, Principal

Black History Month / African American History Month: February 1-28

As our nation observes Black History Month, the Virginia Department of Education is pleased to provide school divisions with Black History Month resources that honor African Americans and celebrate their achievements and contributions to America.  This memo, with resources, is also linked here in our HCPS Black History Month document.  Teachers will be utilizing this document as they embed Black History into their curriculum, but you may also access it to explore at home with your children to celebrate and learn more about our country’s and community’s diversity and shared heritage.

It’s Picture Time!  February 22 and 23rd!

If you have not yet scheduled an appointment, please go to

Please see this PDF for Covid precautions.  COVID-19 Picture Day FAQ.pdf

PTA K-5 Talent Show, Feb. 16th, 7pm!

PTA has opened our Virtual Talent Show to ALL students, K-5. Now’s your child opportunity to put on a 2-minute performance of his or her special talent!


January 2021, Principal’s Principles


Dear Gayton Families:

Happy New Year!  As we transition to 2021, we have so much to celebrate at Gayton Elementary.  We have prioritized learning while navigating the challenges of Covid-19 in our school community.  We can be proud of our proven ability to innovate, and we can be optimistic about our ability to move forward with the next steps of our journey.

Upon the superintendent’s recommendation, we will begin parallel/hybrid learning on Monday, January 25th, PK-5. Gayton administration has been planning for students to return with HCPS guidance, support, and oversight.  We are well prepared.

Soon I will  be following up with information specific to each grade level, and to virtual and in-person students’ families. Teachers will also follow up with their classes.

We look forward to welcoming many of our students in person again. At the same time, we will maintain personal relationships and engaging instruction with all our virtual students.  We are ONE Gayton with a common mission for all:

Gayton Elementary is a caring learning community.  As a school family, we aspire to be a place where safety, kindness, respect, love, and inclusion are at the core of what we do.  We are partners in creating and maintaining an environment that fosters good citizenship, integrity, problem solving, creative thinking, and real-world connections.

Kirk Eggleston, Principal


Principal’s Principles, December 2020


Dear Gayton Families:

We hope you had a restful and rejuvenating Thanksgiving break.  As the spirit of the season is upon us, the faculty/staff want to wish all of you joy and peace this December. May your own family and religious traditions provide you with a sense of renewal for the coming new year.

Below are a few  important items this month.


While we have just three weeks until Winter Break, we want to encourage all students to remain virtually engaged every day throughout the day.  It is very important that students maintain an instructional routine to maximize their learning and not fall behind.  This nine week grading period teachers will be setting goals and expectations for consistent student use of Lexia, Smarty Ants, Achieve 3000, and Dreambox. A weekly participation and/or achieved target grade will be given K-5, with unique expectations at each grade level. Teachers will explain these grades in parent/student communication.

Christmas Mother

Despite the pandemic, the 2020 Christmas Mother program will assist 1,700 Henrico families— a 14% increase from 2019. The Gayton community has always graciously supported this cause. This year, in lieu of the food and gift donations typically collected and distributed at the warehouse, Henrico Christmas Mother clients will receive gift cards to purchase holiday gifts and meal items. As you can imagine, monetary donations are critical this year to fully fund this effort.  As a community, we are want to help with this effort.  The Christmas Mother will be accepting donations through December 18th Please go to the Christmas Mother website to make a secure monetary donation online. Also, check out this video from our student SCA officers. They, too, would appreciate your support!

Return to Learn

We are still scheduled to begin bringing students back starting January 11 (K-2) and January 14 (3-5).  Soon we will be sharing safety, transportation, discipline, and instructional protocols.

On January 4, all students, K-5, will return virtually to their current class/teacher.

We will keep you informed should HCPS further delay in-school learning due to rising Covid cases.

Upcoming Gayton PTA Events

Tuesday, December 8

·  Deep Run Roadhouse Spirit Night

·  Friday, December 11

·  December Birthday Celebrations

·  December 16-18

·  Jingle Bell Run (small groups) . More information forthcoming from PTA.

Holiday Assistance

As the holiday season is approaching fast, this time of year brings joy and happiness; however, it can also be a time of stress and financial anxiety.  The Gayton community is here to help with anyone feeling financially overwhelmed or stressed.  Simply contact Jessica Fisher, our school counselor, at (804)360-0820 or and the elves behind the scenes will help to take care of the rest.


Thanks as always for your partnership and support.

Kirk Eggleston, Principal

Carey Reeves, Associate Principal




Principal’s Principles, November 2020


Dear Gayton Families:

Thank you for your many questions and concerns related to our hybrid of virtual and in-person instruction starting November 30 (PK-2) and December 7 (3-5).  We appreciate the opportunity to be transparent with you about how student numbers will determine our staffing. Teacher assignments may change for your child.  Please know we will keep you informed very soon.

As November welcomes the THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY (November 25-27), we want to thank all of our students, parents, teachers, and staff for your strong community involvement and enthusiasm. As the holiday season is approaching fast, this time of year brings joy and happiness; however, it can also be a time of stress and financial anxiety.  The Gayton community is here to help with anyone feeling financially overwhelmed or stressed.  Simply contact Jessica Fisher, our school counselor, at (804)360-0820 or and the elves behind the scenes will help to take care of the rest. Please contact her by Friday, November 13th.

Mrs. Reeves and Mrs. Huff are looking to create a slide show honoring our veterans on VETERAN’S DAY, November 11th..  Please send a copy of your veteran’s photo to Mrs. Reeves at   When you send your photo, please give the name of the veteran, (first and last name)  in the photo, branch of service, and name of student this veteran is related to. Please send by November 3td.

November 2-6 are PARENT-TEACHER CONFERENCES.  We look forward to sharing with you your child’s strengths and areas for growth and focus.  Our goal is to partner with you to help your child reach his/her potential through goal setting.  Note that teachers are offering other times during this week for conferences.

November 3rd is ELECTION DAY/STUDENT HOLIDAY. HCPS will not be distributing meals. Exercise your right to vote and take the time to share with your child why voting matters in our democracy.  Regardless of the outcome of the election, we are ONE Gayton. Let’s all continue to put our students’ needs first..

November 4th and 12th are TEACHER WORK DAYS. Students will receive asynchronous activities to complete on these days.  November 12th is also when we celebrate NOVEMBER BIRTHDAYS. Come get a photo with Ally the Alligator in the bus loop, 5pm-6pm.

November 13th is a STUDENT HOLIDAY (Diwali).

November 16– Our PTA ONLINE BOOKFAIR BEGINS. More details forthcoming.

November 17th is a PTA GENERAL MEETING. More details forthcoming.

PTA will soon reschedule our PAPA JOHN’S PIZZA NIGHT.  Look for all PTA correspondence here.

November 30–K-2 IN-PERSON INSTRUCTION begins!


Have a great November!

Kirk Eggleston, Ed.D., Principal


Principal’s Principles, October 2020


Dear Gayton Families:

We are excited to have completed our first month of school. Virtual learning has been an unprecedented challenge and our teachers and students have met it exceptionally well. Thank you for your support of them!  We will soon be teaching students in small, differentiated groups in math and reading.  We will be setting growth goals with our students based on completed fall assessments.  Students will all be diving deep into content, asking questions, problem solving, and thinking creatively and critically.  We will have fun with learning!

Below are some important dates for the month of October

  1.  October 2-5  PTA Virtual Silent Auction!  Thanks to teachers, parents, and community partners for donating their time, vacation accommodations, memberships, activities and entertainment, restaurant deals, goods, and services!
  2. October 12  PTA Fall Family Picnic! Family Picnic.pdf  See the attachment. Parents who have requested copies of packets each 2 weeks will have a printed copy included with your paper packets.
  3. October 15  Principal’s Coffee 6:30-7:30.  We have changed our topic to “Helping Your Children Learn To Read and Read to Learn“.  We will have staff reading specialists share strategies and tools of the trade.
  4. October 16 .  October birthday celebrations with Ally the Alligator in the busloop.
  5. October 20  Virtual PTA meeting and Reflections program.
  6. October 22  Mellow Mushroom Spirit Night! 
  7. October 29  Papa John’s Gayton Fundraiser!  We will have a Halloween costume parade and pizza pick up from teachers in the bus loop!

Here are some other important items:

  1. Paper Packets.  Grade levels are providing paper/pencil activities every two weeks.  Packets will be emailed for you to print.  For those who requested copies, they will be available for you to pick up in grade level bins outside the front door starting Monday, Oct. 5th.
  2. Vision Screener—  HCPS is offering free vision screening for all students.  Please see this attachment. Vision Screening Flyer- CrossOver 9.30.20 (2).pdf
  3. Attendance-– During virtual instruction students are expected to participate throughout the school day. Please make sure your child is returning to instruction from recess/lunch.  Please also email the principal for advance approval and excuse of non-illness days missed.
  4. Library Books – Please be sure to return any outstanding library books in the car loop or at the front door.  We are still missing MANY. The county will be issuing notices November 2, 2020, to all families to purchase any outstanding books
  5. COUNSELING:  From Ms. Fisher, our school counselor:

Hi Families! This year has started off differently than any other year we have had but it has still been a great start.  I am so proud of all of our students, parents, and teachers.  I know this has been a learning curve for all. During the first few weeks of school my counseling lessons have been about the importance of gratitude. In the upper grades we are talking about the negativity bias which is the brain’s propensity to be impacted by negative events more than positive ones.  To combat that we talked about the importance of expressing gratitude. As a family you can help your child by taking time to enjoy the positive moments and modeling how to notice and appreciate the good things in life.  Maybe at dinner everyone shares 3 good things that happened that day. Maybe you start a gratitude jar that everyone contributes to. Or maybe you create a family gratitude collage.  As a community, we need to be more intentional about focusing on the positive things in our life if we want to help “retrain” our brains.

I also wanted to pass along two great resources.  This first resource is entitled, “Helping Children & Families cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic.” and it has some great activities to address stress and worry levels.  This next resource is an action calendar for families with ideas to promote happiness and family bonding.

As always, please let me know if there is anything I can do to help support your child during these challenging times.

5. GAYTON SCHOOL VISION.  Recently our staff developed a Wordle (below) to identify ideals that describe what we will aspire to as a school community this year and in the future.  We would like for parents/students to also participate in this activity and create your own wordle.  Please go to  . First you will identify descriptors of what strong characteristics Gayton has now, then identify 3 ideals that you want Gayton to aspire in the future.  You will be able to see the wordle develop at this link.  We will share the wordle with you once it is complete.  Thanks for participating!

Have a great month of October!  We will continue to provide Friday Follow Ups throughout the month.


Kirk Eggleston, Principal

Carey Reeves, Associate Principal


Principal’s Principles, September 2020

Dear Gayton Families:

September is finally here!  Our teachers have been actively engaged this summer with professional development in distance learning, and they are eager to get started on September 8th!

Our administrative team is also excited to reconnect with our students.  Please see our welcome back FLIPGRID and share this with your children before Tuesday.

Other important links to view and/or complete:

Go here to access Parent Portal, Schoology info, and RYCOR online forms (these need to be completed).

Covid 19 What To Do Flow Chart  .  This document is a helpful tool should you have concerns about reporting Covid symptoms.

Virtual Learning Assistance Videos.  These were shared earlier by the county.

You can find our printable September calendar here.Parent Calendar Sept 2020.JPG  .  Details are forthcoming for these upcoming PTA community events!

  • September 18—September Birthday pics with Ally the Alligator.
  • Sept 22 –Virtual PTA General Meeting and Program, 7-8pm.
  • Sept 24 –Virtual Back to School Night, 7-8pm.
  • September 29 –Virtual Volunteer Orientation 9:30 am – 8:00 pm.
  • September 29 –Gayton Spirit Night at Chipotle, 5-9pm.
  • September 30 PTA Reflections due.

Continue to follow us on Facebook ( ) and our Gayton PTA on Facebook . Let’s stay connected!

A couple of other important items:

  1. Many of you have expressed concern about MS Teams not facilitating student-student collaboration. This is a concern with the platform that HCPS is working on with the vendor.  We are hoping this can be resolved soon as we are also eager for the kids to see one another on Teams.
  2. All HCPS schools are providing free breakfast and lunch during the course of our virtual instruction.  We will have breakfast and lunch served in our bus loop daily starting Tuesday.  From 7am-9am, breakfast and (cold) lunch will be served.  From 11:30-1:00, hot lunch and cold breakfast for the following day will be served.

A few thoughts about distance learning:

Like every school year, our first two weeks will be devoted primarily to building relationships and routines with our students. Teachers will be focused on developing classroom cultures, establishing expectations, reviewing prior year skills, navigating digital tools, and assessing for student baselines in reading and math.  They will also be setting the stage for deeper learning using the “6 C’s” of instructional design and delivery. These are Quality Character, Global Citizenship, Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, and Creative Thinking.  Our destination has not changed with Covid 19; we have just taken a detour. Our goal remains to support student success and achievement through LOVE OF LEARNING.

While we are very eager to have our students return safely back to school in person, we are excited that distance learning offers many brand new digital strategies to reach every student. We will be using many of these strategies when we do return physically to the school building. These will provide us with greater instructional equity, innovation, and engagement that will add to our learning toolkits.

As such, we look at the 2020-2021 school year as an opportunity for our children. They will view and remember this time of their lives through a lens of optimism only if we model it positively for them.  You are your child’s greatest cheerleader for virtual learning.  We ask that you continue to have conversations about what they have learned each day.  Ask them to show you what problems they have solved, stories they have written, pictures they have drawn.  Have them retell stories they have read, and what they liked or disliked about the characters.  Make independent reading (and reading aloud) a regular part of your nightly routine. Emphasize exercise of both body and mind.  Sing. Dance. Pray. Laugh out loud.

Thank you for your ongoing understanding that our teachers are learning along with their students, and for your patience when technology glitches do occur.  Tuesday, the first day of school, will be our first foray into distance learning.  We will undoubtedly have kinks to work through. We will navigate the process and problem solve accordingly. By the end of the week we expect to be in a comfortable and glitch-free routine.  Our teachers are totally dedicated to making their virtual classrooms engaging and student friendly.  Most importantly, they are passionate about meeting the learning needs of every child in the classroom through a virtual format.

Should you have or continue to have tech issues with your Chromebook or Ipad, please contact the HCPS Help desk. Email . You can also email me and I will help you to get assistance. We are putting together a list of parent tech concerns to have in one spreadsheet for the county to resolve asap.

By September 21st, you can expect more information about additional instructional tools to assist you and your child. These will include recordings of lesson overviews for when your child is absent, and supplemental paper-pencil materials for remediation, practice, and enrichment.  PreK and Kindergarten teachers will be scheduling in-person tours of the school/classroom for parent/child.  If your family/child is new to the school (K-5) and you would like a school tour, please contact Mrs. Reeves ( or me ( to schedule one (one adult per child).

While we are engaged in virtual instruction, student attendance will be taken the following morning.  Attendance will be based on meaningful student participation in synchronous and/or asynchronous instruction during the prior day.  As always, students should be present each day unless they are ill, out of town, etc.  As always, you must call the school office (360-0820) to report and excuse the absence if your child cannot participate for whatever reason (teachers cannot excuse the absence via email). Most importantly, do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or our school counselor, Ms. Fisher, should your child have any academic or social-emotional concerns while learning virtually.

Please watch this faculty/staff video to inspire our return to learning!  Much thanks to Mrs. Lucas, fifth grade teacher, for putting it together.  Ain’t No Mountain High Enough!

Again, let’s make school about A LOVE OF LEARNING—anytime, anywhere, student-owned, authentic, and connected.  Our school building is just a place.  WE are Gayton Elementary! 

Have a wonderful Labor Day weekend. See you Tuesday!

Kirk Eggleston, Principal

Carey Reeves, Associate Principal

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