Pig-kissing campaign a winner

Usual fund-raisers bypassed as school collects for computers

May 20, 1999|By Melody Simmons | Melody Simmons,SUN STAFF

You've got your candy bar sales, your pizza kits and that ever-loving wrapping paper drive each fall. Now prepare for the worst.

The latest craze in school fund raising this year in Carroll County is pig kissing.

Eager to raise $30,000 for a computer lab, the PTA at Winfield Elementary School has embarked on a fund-raising drive with one catch: A teacher or Winfield administrator must smooch a hog before the pupils June 1.

"It is funny," says Debbie Bunker, Winfield assistant principal. "All the teachers thought it would be a cute little pink pig, but the picture shown in our display cabinet is of an enormous boar. It's big and the ugliest thing you ever saw."

The drive has lifted spirits at the 65-year-old Carroll County school, which was rocked May 11, 1998, when its beloved, longtime principal, J. Raymond Mathias, was killed in a car accident. An attempt by the PTA to rename the school to honor Mathias was squashed by the county Board of Education last year.

Last week, however, the board, voted to name part of the athletic field at the school for him.

"The school has been very down and depressed," said PTA President-elect Laura Rhodes, who is spearheading the pig-kissing drive. "This idea was fun -- and we needed that around here."

Each time pupils turn in a donation, they cast votes for the lucky Winfield teacher or official. Each morning, most of the 808 pupils rush to look in a display cabinet that holds the leader board for the porker love-in.

Topping the list is second-grade teacher Nicole Lewis, who proposed the idea, followed by Principal William Pearre.

The PTA voted this year to embark on a fund-raiser to replace the computers -- many so old parts cannot be found to repair them.

The project got a boost from school officials who funded six of the 30 new computers in next year's budget.

Rhodes said $3,000 has been collected in the pig-kissing effort and that a "dirty-snouted piglet" will be rounded up and brought to school for next month's stunt by the parents of a Winfield pupil who is also a 4-H member.

"Out here in the country, we don't have corporations to help us, so we decided on this," Rhodes said. "And the parents have really pulled together. We could have sold wrapping paper or cookie dough, but we wanted something where we got a better profit and didn't have to pay a retailer."

Donations of $25 or more will get contributors a T-shirt that says: "Ask me about pig kissing at Winfield."

PTA officials have promised to paint the names of each donor on the walls of the new computer lab. Not to mention a portrait of a pig.

"It has really been a work in progress," Rhodes said.

Pub Date: 5/20/99

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