The Spider Challenge

By: Samantha Solliday
An eight-legged creepy, crawly creature made a rare public appearance Friday for the students and staff of Sugar Loaf Elementary School as the principal prepared to face her fear.

In the spirit of Halloween and in solidarity with the principal, students and staff members went all out for wacky hair day.

Colors ranging from purple, teal, pink sparkles and unicorn headbands were just some of the spirited decorations adorning the students’ hair. Staff members also got in on the fun wearing fake fuzzy spiders and wigs.

But the excitement quieted when Steve, a female spider, made her appearance.

Taking the stage, Principal Violet Simmons told a brief story about her fear of spiders and told students to face your fears head-on.

“I made a promise to you,” she said addressing the crowd. “I told you if the staff raised $1 more than last year I would do something crazy.”

The Sugar Loaf staff not only met their goal, they exceeded it, raising over $2,000 for the Killeen ISD Education Foundation.

“I have been terrified of spiders since I was in second grade,” she said. “But the best way to deal with your fear is head on and nothing can be scarier than Steve.”

Taking her seat, Simmons was ready to face the tarantula as someone removed the spider from its container.

Placing the hairy arachnid on Simmons’ arm, the 10-second countdown began and the entire crowd gasped with excitement.

What felt like an eternity, was soon over and the crowd erupted in cheers. The relief was apparent on Simmons’ face.

Education Foundation Director Joyce Hodson was proud of the district-wide enthusiasm for raising money for the Foundation.

“We raised more money than ever and it is because of the support of the ambassadors and especially the support of the campus administration,” she said.

“Sugar Loaf is a relatively small school and they doubled what they raised last year for the Foundation. They did a great job!”

This isn’t the first time Simmons has done something off the wall to motivate her staff and students to rise to a challenge.

“Every year when I challenge students to raise money for United Way along with staff, I do something crazy as a celebration for reaching a set goal,” she said.

“Last year I kissed a pig in front of the entire school,” said Simmons. “Pigs scare me to death.”

Simmons has also had ice cold water and chocolate pudding poured on her, but Steve was by far the scariest challenge she has faced.

“This was so worth it to motivate my staff to raise money, but I wouldn’t do this challenge again,” Simmons said shaking her head.

United Way kicks off Wednesday, so Simmons will soon be facing another challenge.

She will let students suggest what she should do if the school meets that fundraising goal and she will choose one challenge.

“Something that does not involve a member of the arachnid family,” she said. “Stay tuned.”