The sudden showing of porcine affection from Principal Dennis Willingham was a reward for the students reaching their goal of raising $1,000 during a recent penny drop at the school.
“It really wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be,” Willingham said. “The pig didn’t even have bad breath.”
Willingham said taking part in Friday’s bizarre assembly was worth it to see the kids’ reaction.
“This was all about our students. If they can raise $1,000, I can kiss a pig,” he said.
The Oakman Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) held the penny drop to raise funds for its “Wildcat Cash” program, which rewards students for their good behavior.
“We have a cart that is full of goodies, and the kids earn ‘Wildcat Dollars’ and can spend them each Friday on an item or two,” said Jennifer Kimbrell, current PTO president. “It’s something the kids really seem to like and we enjoy doing it.”
Kimbrell, who has three children at Oakman Middle, said she volunteers at the school every day. Kimbrell and several other members of the PTO also rewarded students for participating in the penny drop by taking pies to the face.
“The kids did a great job and met their goal,” Kimbrell said. “This was the least I can do.”
Willingham said he was pied in the face last year and prefered kissing the pig.
“When they put that pie in my face last year, it was up my nose and in my ears. It was terrible,” he said. “I would much rather kiss the pig.”
Willingham praised the PTO for the work the group does at the school.
“Our PTO is so active. They are constantly involved, and that means so much to our school. I appreciate the work they do,” he said.
Several other teachers, and even Kimbrell, had also agreed to kiss the pig as well.
“I took a pie to the face and kissed a pig today. I hope these kids know how much I care about them,” she said.
The pig, named Piper, was on loan from Pet Depot in Jasper.
“We want to thank them for letting us borrow Piper for the afternoon,” Kimbrell said. “Now someone can go buy her.”