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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Hands behind your backs! Take off your glasses, unless you want some messy lenses!

Ready! Set! Dive into the apple pie!

NOVA Southeastern University's Jacksonville campus held a pie eating contest as part of its big fundraising efforts for The Apple Project, our effort to build a free dental clinic.

The local campus is the only PA (physicians' assistant) program in Northeast Florida, according to officials at the school.

The students raised several hundred dollars already and plan to raise more.

Their efforts include "Apple Jars." Each student is taking to various businesses around town so folks can drop in extra change. They're also selling apple pie slices and candy apples.

The PA program is just part of a larger NOVA network. The Ft. Lauderdale campus has a dental school, and those students have sent free toothbrushes and toothpaste for the new dental clinic.

If we can raise the funds, the new clinic will be open next year in Jacksonville. Donations up to $100,000 will be matched by the Weaver Foundation.

Hats off to NOVA and its students and staff!

If you do a fundraiser let Jeannie Blaylock know. Her email is jblaylock@firstcoastnews.com

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