Pig Kissing for STAAR Motivating

HHES principal kisses pig to motivate students.
By: Todd Martin
Some teachers and principals will do anything to motivate students to do their best on a test, even kiss a pig.
Harker Heights Elementary School Principal Carolyn Dugger, a self-described “city girl” said she had never been up close to a pig until Friday when she smooched a 1-year-old show pig named “Mammacita” in front of an excited group of students and staff.
Younger students wore paper pig hats they made for the occasion. A few teachers and other staff wore pig ears.
Most everyone gathered on the school blacktop seemed worked up and ready for the spectacle.
In contrast, 11-year-old fifth-grader Cade Barclay and his black-and-white Hampshire Hilt “Mammacita” were casual as a boy and his hog could be.
The son of Trever Barclay and Harker Heights Elementary first-grade teacher Tami Barclay has shown pigs in competition three years and he’s kissed plenty of the animals in his day.
“Oh, yeah,” he said, “you have to make them love you from the beginning.”
Cade spends plenty of time rubbing his pigs’ bellies, hugging them and sure, even kissing them sometimes. No biggie to him.
For his principal, though, the interaction was a little more of a stretch, but one, she said, she would happily do again if it would inspire students to do their best work.
She told fifth-graders a month ago that if they scored a 90 overall on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness she would kiss a pig. Preliminary results showed they did it and so she made good on her word.
During the assembly Friday, Dugger pointed out to students that the town of Harker Heights started out as a pig farm. She also told students that pigs are known as friendly and intelligent creatures.
“Mammacita” appeared interested in exploring the grassy lawn, but Cade directed the animal from a trailer to Dugger, who applied lipstick as part of the dramatic buildup.
The animal was hesitant to stop in front of the principal until Trever placed a bucket of feed in her path, leading to the moment of truth.
At the end, students walked up to the trailer to get a closer look at another pig, 2-month-old “Baby Girl,” a Chester White.
Show pigs, Trever said, lead a pretty comfortable life and are generally unphased by crowds of people, even squealing, excited children.
Following the next round of STAAR testing, Dugger’s plan is to bring a group of high school theater students to the school to act out scenes from Charlotte’s Web, a story of a kind-hearted, lovable pig.