This past Friday evening I had the honor of kissing Penelope, a 120-pound Vietnamese potbelly pig, not because it was the trendy thing to do, but because the Home and School Association (HSA) held a special dual event where students played candy-bar bingo and also voted on various teachers and administrators to kiss the pig. This was the first time I’d seen such an event, and the crowd was beyond energetic. Nothing beats seeing a packed room of parents, teachers, and students all embracing a sea of smiles.
Based on a few hundred children who kept running to the front of the stage every time Penelope came out to smooch, it was certainly the highlight of the evening. As for my kissing the pig, I don’t recall having ever done something before where almost every smartphone in the room came out to take pictures and videos. Surely, this is the stuff that computer wallpapers, screen savers, and memes are made of.
That is the point, though; all of this is in good fun. Superintendents, now more than ever, need to be public, approachable, and up for events like this. It does not have to be kissing a pig; it could be a dunk tank (I had to hide around the corner), eating something you normally don’t (muskrat was a common local food and “delicacy” in one community where I worked), or something goofy like dying your hair or sleeping overnight on the roof of a school. This is free, positive publicity for you and your district.
Any school leader turning down such happenings is waiting for a barrage of negativity on top of the daily criticism you already face. Events like this are win-win. Whether you love me or loathe me, you thoroughly enjoyed the experience…and… money was raised for a good cause (in the pig’s case, it was for HSA funds).
Thus, to those crazy fundraisers and hilarious events where something silly can happen, keep them coming. You raise funds and awareness and perhaps even gain some personal points in the process.
As for my eating pork, I’m going to give that up for a while!