She has seen a principal take pies in the face, another sing songs from the top of the school and another kiss a pig, goat and a llama on the lips.
But until March 15 at Liberty Middle School, Tracey Maniecki of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society had never seen a principal turned into a human sundae.
A smiling James Ammirati, Liberty’s principal, sat on a chair in the gymnasium as hundreds of students cheered loudly for every scoop of vanilla ice cream, every drop of Hershey’s chocolate syrup, each piece of crumbled Oreo cookie, every sprinkle and, naturally, the jars of cherries that were dumped over his head.
It was all for a good cause, as well as a reward for every homeroom that raised more than $100 towards Liberty’s final tally of $5,254.37.
“About two months ago, I met with Ms. Katie Smith and also several students that are on Student Council, and we just threw around some ideas and this is the one they landed on,” said Ammirati. “I was all in because its for a great cause. And, it obviously drove our numbers up.”
Smith, a 7th- and 8th-grade Spanish teacher and Student Council advisor, has led the fund raiser the past five years, but says she usually raised about $1,000. This year, she says the students were sparked by stories of children whose only wish was to make it to their eighth birthday.
“For a child not much older than that, it really hit home,” Smith said. “It hit home for me, too.”
Money was raised from donations from students, with some parents sending their kids to school with checks of more than $100, while additional funds were raised selling treats like chocolate and Takis.
“Sometimes it’s hard to get the principals engaged, but I can’t say enough about Katie Smith and the fact she was able to get the principal on board to raise the awareness,” Maniecki said.
Ammirati tilted his head back during the sundae making, joking that he consumed enough ice cream and toppings that he probably gained a few pounds.
Next year, he hopes to be involved again, but wouldn’t mind a warmer payoff.
“It was freezing,” he said.