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While wearing a pink pig nose and ears on October 13, Sandy Hook Elementary School Principal Kathy Gombos said she jokingly told members of her school’s PTA that she would kiss a pig if the school community raised more than $10,000 for the PTA. It did.
During a celebratory event near the end of the school day, the entire school walked a mile around the field in the Walk-A-Thon fundraising finale. The school’s new eagle mascot, donated by Post University, came out first as music played, green and white balloons swayed in the breeze, and PTA members and parents whooped, cheered, and clapped.
Sandy Hook School’s first Annual Walk-A-Thon was the yearly fall fundraiser for the PTA, according to PTA co-chair Karyn Holden. Money raised from the event will be used to fund cultural arts programs, technology, and more. Ms Holden said students, family members, and staff all helped raise money for the event.
As “We Are Family” by Sister Sledge played on speakers, fourth graders were starting their laps around the field. The grade levels continued to exit the building until finally all of the students and staff were walking together. Some parents cheered from the sidelines and others joined their children for the walk. PTA members also used bubble machines to blow bubbles as the students rounded the corner to start another lap. As the sun shone on the field, PTA members and parent volunteers also handed out cups of water to the thirsty walkers.
PTA members Julie Laughlin and Allyson Story co-chaired the Walk-A-Thon event.
Students held hands and jumped for portions of the laps. Some classes held signs displaying their teacher’s name, and almost all of the attendants were wearing green t-shirts that read, “Sandy Hook School’s First Annual Walk-A-Thon 2017.”
Finally, when all of the laps were completed students nestled into a group on the field, and Dr Gombos thanked everyone for participating. She also admitted to the audible delight of the student body, that, “I think I might have to kiss a pig.”
Ms Story explained different prizes were set up for the classes and students that raised the most ahead of the Walk-A-Thon. Classes earned things like an extra recess period or an extra special period of the class’s choosing. The top 25 students who raised the most earned a party with Assistant Principal Tim Napolitano and Dr Gombos. For reaching the $5,000 fundraising amount the entire school earned three nights of no homework, according to Ms Story. The school community also earned a chance to watch Mr Napolitano be slimed and Dr Gombos kiss a pig.
Overall the school raised $10,196 for the PTA.
“Slime!” The students then started chanting. A tarp was set up with a chair, ladder, and buckets of green slime — made from Jell-O, flour, baby shampoo, and water. Mr Napolitano chose four fourth grade students for the honor of climbing the ladder, one by one, and dumping slime on his head. Leah Laughlin, C.J. Manfredonia, Addison O’Leary, and Ben Milkovic were chosen for the sliming honor. By the time the fourth graders were done with their work, Mr Napolitano was dripping green goo as he moved.
Then the students began chanting again. “Kiss the pig! Kiss the pig! Kiss the pig!”
Owner Kristen Olyha and her pig Hercules were introduced, and Ms Olyha showed Dr Gombos how to interact and feed Hercules treats. Hercules quickly snuggled up and shared a smooch with the principal to the delight of the crowd.
The celebrations were not done. Pig “Missy” and her owner, Sara FitzGerald, came out onto the field, and Dr Gombos shared another smooch with a pig.
As the event came to a close, many students and staff could be heard exclaiming how cute the pigs were as they entered the school to prepare for dismissal.