Pucker up for Miss PiggyPublished 6:07pm Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Except for assistant principal Joe Racht, no one at Ballard Elementary School seems to have much love for pigs.
And even Racht’s love was forced.
In front of a large crowd of screaming children Tuesday afternoon, Racht kissed a pig gently on top of the head. It was his reward, or punishment, for receiving the most votes from the students at Ballard Elementary in Niles.
Students had been collecting nonperishable food items for a food drive since Nov. 9. Students received one vote for every item collected, a vote that would determine if Racht or principal David Eichenberg would pucker up for Miss Piggy.
Students collected 2,586 items. Racht received 70 more votes than Eichenberg.
“It is always nice to win, but this one I wish I hadn’t won,” Racht said.
In anticipation of the afternoon, Racht wore a pink shirt because “I like to match my dates.”
He brought chapstick for himself and a breath mint for the pig. After Racht kissed the pig on the head students chanted “kiss it on the lips.”
Racht wasn’t in the mood for seconds.
“I was told by the owners it only gets one kiss a day,” he said.
The pig kiss was the students’ reward for raising food for the Niles Salvation Army.
Jan Nowak, Niles Salvation Army director of caring ministries and social services, thanked the students, many of whom were dressed as pilgrims or Indians, for their efforts.
“I can’t do it all without your help,” Nowak said. “You should be really proud of yourself for organizing such a great food drive.”
Prior to the pig kiss, four fifth-grade students read persuasive essays on whether one should eat turkey or pig on Thanksgiving.
All four suggested eating turkey, including Ally Smith, who was writing as Pat the Pig.
“You wouldn’t want to choose me when you could choose a delicious mouthwatering turkey would you?” Smith read.
Brenna Williams, writing as Penelope the Pig, said turkey was the best choice because “why would you want to eat a soon-to-be movie star like Miss Piggy or Charlotte from ‘Charlotte’s Web?’”
It is hard to argue with that logic.