There isn’t much Paul Banks Elementary School Principal Eric Pederson won’t do for his students, as evidenced last week when he puckered up and kissed a pig from a local farm.
Paul Banks holds a read-a-thon every year to encourage reading among its students and to raise money for books, supplies and other school needs. The staff holds a kickoff assembly at the start of the event and a closing assembly celebrating the students’ achievement.
This year’s assemblies were wild west themed, and the school brought in a live pig from Anchor River Llama and Alpaca Ranch in Anchor Point. Guinevere the pig made a special appearance at the kickoff assembly before being “stolen” by some “pig rustlers” while Paul Banks staff acted out a skit.
The deal was this: if the students could read a collective total of 150,000 minutes, Guinevere would be returned and Pederson would give her a big kiss.
The students ensured this would happen by surpassing the goal set for them and reading a total of 216,976 minutes. So, with the help of his daughter, Ingrid Pederson, Eric Pederson smeared on some lipstick and gave Guinevere a big kiss in front of his students, to wild cheers and applause.
School secretary Katy Countiss said the event has raised $4,634, but that funds are still trickling in.
Pederson said the students really got into the spirit of things in the last week of the read-a-thon, and even took to reminding him of his upcoming kiss when they passed him in the halls.
“The amount of reading that these kids did — they really got into it,” he said. “… It was just a really good, positive … school event.”
The Homer Bookstore and Ulmer’s Drug and Hardware donated $30 gift cards that were given out to the top readers and top earners for each grade level.
Top readers (Homer Bookstore gift cards)
PreK: Isabella Eben, 780 minutes
Kindergarten: McKenna McCarthy, 2,150 minutes
First grade: Maren Steen, 4,650 minutes
Second grade: Sophie Williams, 5,400 minutes
Top fundraising earners (Ulmer’s gift cards)
PreK: Nyla Landmesser, $56
Kindergarten: Wyatt Hayden, $848
First grade: Sadie Gibson, $256
Second grade: Tazlina Petska, $226