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South Jordan Journal

Pigs and wigs? Welby Elementary’s fundraiser earned top dollar

Nov 30, 2020 03:23PM ● By Julie Slama

Sixth grade teacher Jason White gives a kiss to a 500-pound pig as part of a bargain he made with Welby Elementary students if they reached their fundraising goal. (Jana Tvedtnes/Welby PTA)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Recently, Baby Yoda and her owner, Justin McMullan, the grandson of Welby Elementary’s first principal, Clell McMullan, came to visit the 40-year-old school.

The purpose? To allow 11 teachers and Principal Aaron Ichimura, who promised if students met their fundraising goal of $15,000, to give her a big kiss.

“The pig was called Baby Yoda, so I was expecting this little piglet,” third grade teacher Carolyn Smith said. “It was huge.”

Surprise!

Welby PTA President Polly Uffens estimated that the 500-pound darling had plenty of places the faculty, wearing bright lipstick, could place their lips—foot, ear, shoulder, back, leg.

“We drew slips of paper where they would kiss the pig,” Uffens said. “The actual pig kissing was streamed into all of the classrooms. I think it was great; they all got a front-row seat!”

In fact, the PTA also was able to post the recorded video to the school website so online students and families could watch it as well. Students at school got to walk by the pig before the event took place.

That wasn’t all. 

Ichimura also wore four different wigs during the week, selected by students who brought in the most amount of money in the fundraiser. The wigs, ordered off of Amazon, ranged from a colonial hairdo to a green mermaid hair—quite the switch for a bald principal, Uffens said.

“The kids just loved the wigs,” she said, adding that she scoured the internet for ideas. “He stood outside each morning with the wigs, and the kids would see him when they came to school. It was perfect.”

Those kids were led by a third grade boy, who brought in about $700.

“We had the highest individual earners that we can recall,” she said about the no-fuss fundraiser that just asked students’ families and friends to make an online donation to the school. “I think this was convenient for parents and students could just send an email to others so they could easily access the pledge website.”

Not only did the students surpass their goal, but they brought in more than $5,000 more and it reduced the time to count cash. There also was an added safety factor of not touching the money during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funds will go toward a new water-bottle refilling station; a book vending machine that will be filled with Scholastic books, and teachers will have two coins to reward students so they can get books; and a mural that students will help create and place in the cafeteria. 

“It all went well,” Uffens said. “It was so fun.”