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January 23, 2009


Nelsen Middle School Raises Money,
Has Fun With "Kiss A Pig"

ASB leaders at Nelsen Middle School hit the nail on the head when it came to fundraisers, and a privilege few received the honor of swallowing their dignity, all in the name of kids.

The Nelsen ASB's  fundraising event, "Kiss A Pig," included a fundraising week, where Nelsen staff members volunteered to kiss a pig during Nelsen's Activities Assembly on Friday, Janauary 23. The fundraiser took place the week of January 14-23.

Nellie, the designated pig kisser, would share a little love with the winners.

Each staff member/teacher had a donation jar set up during the lunch period each day.  After eating lunch, students then donated money toward the people of their choice.  The three staff members/teachers that raised the most money for ASB received the honor of kissing the pig at the assembly.

Daily totals of money collected were posted on large thermometers near an area called the Hawks Hangout. Students could eagerly track the "progress" of their selected staff members. 

Noble Volunteers
Those willing to sacrifice their dignity included the following teachers:

  • Rebecca Schlosstein
  • John Yount
  • Gayle Swannack
  • Christy O'Hearn
  • Theranne Nesheim
  • Ashlie Tusberg
  • Judith Oakes
  • Brian Hoskins
  • Renee Barut
  • Genie Fairhart
  • Steve Turner
  • Chris Heimsoth

When the money was counted, the favorites were clear. Instead of three techers, students enjoyed watching four staff members do the deed. ASB Advisors Chris Heimsoth and Steve Turner were a two-for-one deal, upping the total from three to four sacrificial lambs.

Chosen teachers included Steve Turner, ASB Advisor & Grade 7 Science Teacher; Chris Heimsoth, ASB Advisor & Grade 7 Science Teacher; John Yount, Grade 7 PE Teacher; and Brian Hoskins, Music Teacher/Choral Conductor.

In all, a reported $900 was raised for the ASB.

The Assembly
Valentine's Performing Pigs, owned by Steve and Priscilla Valentine, are based out of Gig Harbor. Their stunt pigs have been on a number of national shows including The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, Late Night with David Letterman, Oprah, The Today Show, America's Funniest Home Videos and Animal Planet.

Featured performing pigs "Snort," "Petunia" and "Nellie" performed a number of stunts before they kissed. They showed their skills in hoop-jumping, bowling, playing soccer and retrieving mail.

The Kisses
When the time came for the anticipated final event, the crowd erupted as each victim stepped up to kiss Nellie.

The final kiss was a real highlight, as Nellie refused to kiss ASB advisor Chris Heimsoth. After many embarrassing attempts, the trainers switched pigs, hoping smaller, carried Snort would result in a kiss.

No such luck.

After several additional failed attempts, Snort finally succumbed and kissed Heimsoth.

"I have to admit I was a little embarrassed at first, until the crowd started reacting.  They cheered me on, and were disappointed every time I was rejected, yet laughed.  It was great," said Heimsoth. "Afterward, many teachers came to me asking if that was planned, I wish I would have thought of that, because I would do it again planned."

"I will never forget walking down the hall afterward, and having every eye on me.  Students that knew me teased me, others came to me trying to give reasons why the pig did not kiss me so I wouldn’t feel bad.  I thought it was funny!" said Heimsoth.

Trainers later explained that the pigs felt threatened by her gesture (putting her hands out to hold them) and when her staff ID lanyard dangled in front.  Pigs consider themselves in a vulnerable position whenever they are off the ground, so they will balk at anything they perceive as a threat.

In any case, the unexpected fluke added more to the hilarity of it all.

"When I first heard of Kiss the Pig, I knew I wanted to do it.  I knew it would be funny, and I love making my students laugh.  I am always willing to make jokes at my own expense to entertain my students," said Heimsoth.

Animal Planet Tapes Event
Film crew members from national channel Animal Planet were also at the Assembly, and the event will be on a future show of "Most Outstanding Animals."

For More Information
For more information on the Pigs, visit their website at www.valentinesperformingpigs.com.

Responses to "Nelsen's Kiss a Pig"

January 31 - 8:03 am
Whitney Wade
said: I watched it happen and i was laughing so hard

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Snort gets ready for the assembly.

Thermometers were used to track the "progress" of each of the staff members who volunteered to participate in the fundraiser.

ASB Advisors Chris Heimsoth and Steve Turner were clear winners, with "flaming" results.

Choir Teacher Brian Hoskins was also a winner, maxing out his thermometer.

PE Teacher John Yount was also a lucky Pig Kisser.

Snort demonstrated the importance of saving.

Snort's expertise in bowling was also demonstrated.

Snort showed students that practice makes perfect in soccer.

Snort poses for the Animal Planet film crew.

Although Nellie willingly shared a bit of love with all the other selected Nelsen teachers, ASB Advisor Chris Heimsoth's several attempts resulted in no kisses.

Snort finally replaced Nellie, and after several attempts, she succumbed.

Snort went out with a big bang.

Petunia shared her love of music.