Polk Elementary School in Kresgeville challenged its students and staff to donate at least 300 items for Toys For Tots. The teachers kicked the challenge up a notch when they promised the students that if they helped them reach their goal, they would have their principal, Kenneth Newman, kiss a pig.
Newman could have rejected the challenge, saying he would do it when pigs fly, but instead he said, "Sure. Anything to help Toys For Tots."
They exceeded their goal, collecting 361 toys.
So on Friday, Dec. 21, the whole school, grades kindergarten to third grade students, and staff, filled the gymnasium/auditorium, greeted by the PV Bear mascot. All the students were wearing pig noses or crowns with pig faces that they had made in class, hamming it up and oinking. First they were treated to a cartoon of "The Three Little Pigs."
Finally, the pig arrived and was greeted with screams of delight from the children.
Bill Moreton, owner with his wife Sharon, of Spring Mountain Farms, entered holding a 3-week old Tamworth-Herford cross piglet, named "Mistletoe," who will someday weigh 700 pounds. Moreton gave a few pig noises and when the pig began squealing in response, the children laughed.
Darcy Smith, ESOL teacher asked, "Who wants to see Mr. Newman kiss a pig?" and the kids went ballistic.
Newman addressed the audience.
"Everybody, put a big smile on your face. You created 361 smiles for other kids this Christmas," said Newman. "Pat yourself on the back and tell yourself, 'Good job.'"
Without further ado, he kissed the pig and everyone wildly clapped and made oinking noises.
Then Julie Weiss, a Polk kindergarten teacher, presented a new challenge.
"We have $75 that was given to us to donate to Pleasant Valley Ecumenical Network if any other members of the administration will come forward to kiss the pig. Who will be the first $25?" she asked.
Carole Geary, PVSD's associate superintendent came forward first, followed by Dr. Douglas Arnold, PVSD superintendent and then Joshua Krebs, Pleasant Valley Elementary's principal. Another $25 was offered if Jason Fisher, PVSD assistant to the superintendent, would also kiss the pig. He did. The kids were wild with laughter and clapping. The teachers and staff couldn't stop smiling.
Newman said he has been involved in helping Toys For Tots for over 20 years, ever since he was in college, but he never imagined someday he'd have to kiss a pig for it.
What's it like kissing a pig?
"It was a little furry," he said, but worth it all for such a good cause.