DOBSON — Copeland Elementary faculty members puckered up for a good cause, celebrating a milestone in a school fundraiser.
Several school teachers and principal Margaret Spicer kissed a pig after school children raised the first $1,000 toward the installation of air conditioning in the school gym.
Installing an A/C system in the gym, which was built in 1963, could cost in the neighborhood of $30,000, school officials said. So there is still a long way to in garnering funds, but the kids showed their enthusiasm by kicking things off.
This isn’t just a place for P.E. classes, the school noted. The stand-alone building has many uses including school assemblies, fifth grade graduation, community recreation and community events.
The Copeland PTO has been working to raise funds for air conditioning. PTO president Tanya Smith put forward the challenge of having the principal kiss a pig if the kids could raise money. Collection boxes were placed in each classroom, with students, parents and even some staff members dropping donations in the boxes.
As an added incentive for the kids, the teachers of the class in each grade level who raised the most money would have to kiss a pig, setting off friendly rivalries between classes.
Lots of pocket changes eventually added up to $1,052.73 by the last day of the donation drive.
The “winning” teachers who would have to smooch pork were: Donna Journey, Kathryn Hall, Tracie Whitaker, Pat Johnson, Jessica Johnson and Lesa Thomas.
Local pig owner Dezarae Nichols was supposed to bring over Wilburt, a 190-pound black pot-bellied pig, last month. On a bitterly cold day, however, Wilburt refused to get in the vehicle to travel over to the school.
Nichols said Wilburt had taken many car rides before, but he wouldn’t budge on the cold day, so the event was moved to a later date.
“When the announcement was made that the event would be rescheduled, sighs of disappointment were heard through the halls,” said Rebecca Bennett, media specialist. “When students heard the second part of the announcement, that the pig would not get in the car, laughter erupted throughout the school.”
On the new day recently, not only did Wilburt finally arrive, but so did his dad, Bacon, and owner Nikki Ramey.
Ramey answered questions from the students about owning a pot-bellied pig before the teachers and principal gave their kisses.
Smith, who concocted the fundraiser, was also dared to kiss one, and she showed her good sportsmanship.
“This was so much fun, and all the money raised was for a great cause,” Smith said afterward.
Staring at that $30,000 price tag, Copeland Elementary is seeking community business partners and individuals to help with this endeavor.
Surry County Schools has $1.84 million in renovations and equipment on its long-range facility needs survey for Copeland, but the air conditioning project is listed in years 6-10 from now.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.