Goat Kissing and Wall Taping

Willow Springs principal kisses goat
By: Todd Martin
During the final week of the semester, during the season of joy and giving, Willow Springs Elementary School made much of providing for others.
Carefully keeping track and graphing their progress of donations to the local United Way drive, students and staff members watched daily as the school met three funding goals.
The first level led to pies in the face for Assistant Principal Mark Sheppard. The second goal, led to Sheppard and Assistant Principal Noel Taylor taped to a hallway wall.
Finally, with the $1,691 total well above the $1,500 goal, Principal Andrea Chaney puckered up to smooch a goat in front of the entire school assembled Thursday in the cafeteria prior to dismissal.
“It built huge excitement,” the principal said following the kiss. “They were pumped up for it.”
The 5-month-old brown-and-white Boer goat appeared ready for the limelight. It is a show goat that first-grade teacher Penny DeAugustineo offered up for the occasion. Her daughters raise goats for livestock shows.
The male goat “Pickles,” was not too afraid, but was ready to get off the stage, according to owners 9-year-old Harlie DeAugustineo and 14-year-old Haylie Lindenblatt-Hatcher, both students in Florence ISD accompanying their animal.
“There’s way too many people in here,” Haylie said.
The two girls pointed out that “Pickles” was doing what he is trained to do, to stand still for judging, or in this case, for a couple of pecks on the furry cheek from a school principal.
“It’s important that we teach them to give back to the community,” said Chaney, explaining the motivation for the series of culminating celebrations. “Having goals to reach kept them excited.”
On Tuesday, classes took turns applying long strips of tape around their two “chosen” assistant principals, attaching them to the hallway wall for all to see.
Students paid to participate in fun dress-up days and staff members contributed to activities that involved meals, including a food truck stop at the school and a bagel day to add to the donation total.
“We see some students break out of their shells and have fun with it,” said counselor Shana Heikkinen. “They see that they can all participate. I enjoy seeing their smiles. They knew it was for the community and were happy to give to a good cause.”
Sheppard and Assistant Principal Noel Taylor watched day by day as their fortunes rose and fell with the votes of students and staff, before the “winner” took the pies in the face and then the wall taping.
“It benefits a great cause in the United Way,” Sheppard said after washing cream from his face last week. “These kids work hard and this is a chance for them to have fun. The staff was talking about it all week. We all have fun with it.”