Mrs. Kiefer, meet Miss Piggy . . .

April 01, 1994|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Sun Staff Writer

There they were yesterday, 250 South Shore Elementary School students booing wildly at their principal, Lib Kiefer.

Mrs. Kiefer, dressed in her pig-patterned scarf, pink pig earrings and pink sweater, didn't seem to mind, though. What bothered her was bending down and getting nose-to-nose with Miss Piggy, a 65-pound black Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.

She tried to get away with planting an enthusiastic kiss on a plush, toy porker someone held out from behind the school auditorium curtain. "It's a soft, fuzzy pig," she taunted.

But a stuffed animal fell short of the bargain she had struck with the students and they let her know it.

"No! Boo!" they yelled.

The fourth-grade class had met Mrs. Kiefer's challenge to read 144 books of at least 100 pages during March. Now she had to pay up.

After all, she had been taunting them all month, rhyming over the intercom that they would lose and she would be left with a dry-lipped smile.

"Boys and girls, you know I don't like yucky things," Mrs. Kiefer pleaded as a television camera followed her movements.

At 2:23 p.m., after a resounding "Pucker up, Mrs. Kiefer," the principal bent down and bussed Miss Piggy on the side of her snout. Not wanting to lose the moment too quickly, she agreed to do it a second time, drawing cheers from her charges.

"Mrs. Akers pinched it -- she tried to make it bite me," the principal charged afterward. Joddi Akers, the school's secretary, keeps Miss Piggy as a household pet.

The fourth-graders got the idea from pen pals at P. A. Walsh Elementary School in Morgan, Calif., a suburb of San Jose.

"We do a lot of that here in California. One principal sat on top of the roof, another one got all crazy and dressed up punk-rockish and roller-bladed all around the school," said Irene Macias-Morris, principal at Walsh.

The humiliation of authority figures has become increasingly popular.

At Marley Middle School in February, students got to see their principal, vice principal and guidance counselor slimed on national television during a visit by celebrities from Nickelodeon cable television network.

A Carroll County elementary principal spent a day on her school's roof last May after her students met a challenge to read for 200,000 minutes during the spring.

The California principal also has a chance of kissing a pig, but unlike Mrs. Kiefer, "it doesn't seem the least bit offensive to me," Ms. Macias-Morris said.

Easy for her to say, because her 460 students are trying to reach a goal of 500,000 pages by reading an average of about 10 100-page books each.

Mrs. Kiefer told her students she agreed to the pig-kissing "because I didn't think you could really read that many pages of that many books."

She even had tacked a poem to the classroom door of fourth-grade teacher and instigator Barbara Laukhart, who now calls the principal "Lips Kiefer."

"Drippy? Degrading? Disgusting? Doubtful," the missive read.

But many fourth-graders thought otherwise.

"I was sure, because everyone wanted Mrs. Kiefer to make a fool of herself in front of the whole school," said Kelly Brady, 10, of Crownsville.

The big event was introduced by third-graders, who performed a "Three Piggy Opera," a musical version of the "Three Little Pigs."

The show featured pig-eared and pig-nosed children, and a show-stopping performance by the Big Bad Wolf, played by third-grader Paul Pleyo, who borrowed the moves of Cab Calloway while singing "I want a big fat pig to eat."

Fifth-grader Adam Fry, 10, of Crownsville saw no end to the fun as school was letting out for the day. He gave a loud snort as the principal walked by.

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