LACEY - Randy Weeks keeps his promises, even if it means wearing a tutu.
The principal at Mountain View Elementary School told students he would wear a tutu and tiara for an entire day if they raised more than $3,000 for the school’s annual “Jump Rope For Heart, Hoops For Heart,” fundraiser. The students raised nearly $3,500.
“It’s OK to be silly for a good cause,” Weeks said of the message he hoped to send his students.
The fundraiser supports research and awareness for heart problems by the American Heart Association. Students jumped rope and shot baskets to raise money. The school reportedly has raised more than $25,000 for the organization.
The fundraiser had special meaning for Weeks and Mountain View this time around. Last year, fourth-grader Phillip Peck had a heart attack on the playground. Recess attendants kept him alive until a medical transport came and took him to the hospital. Peck had a pacemaker installed and is doing fine.
“Its a personal issue for us,” Weeks said. “We jumped in honor of him.”
A banner with Peck’s picture was displayed at the event, and he jumped along with his classmates.
“(The event) helps people like me get healthy,” Peck said. “We had to reach our goal to see his tutu.”
The idea to wear a tutu came from the school’s physical education teacher, Karen Steen.
“I said, ‘Karen, I’ll do anything you want, as long as it’s legal,’ ” Weeks said.
Weeks donned a pink and purple tutu over black pants and a purple University of Washington Huskies T-shirt. He completed the costume with a plastic tiara and silver wand. Past rewards included students getting to throw pies at teachers. Weeks offered to kiss a pig once.
“I think he is having way too much fun with it all,” Steen said.
As Weeks wandered in and out of classrooms Wednesday, fits of laughter followed him. He gave hugs and tapped students with his plastic wand. The younger children giggled and pointed, shouting, “Mr. Tutu, Mr. Tutu.”
“I went out on the playground and was immediately mobbed,” Weeks said of his costume debut.
Although having a fairy prince for a principal is mildly distracting for the learning process, its a great pick-me-up for the kids, first-grade teacher Cheryl Dowdy said.
“Mr. Weeks makes school fun,” Dowdy said. “You let students do these things and it makes their day.”
“They just can’t help but laugh,” Weeks said.
Students at Lacey Elementary were laughing, too.
Their principal, Gary Culberston, was dressed up as the popular cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants Wednesday to reward his students for reaching their read-a-thon goal. One student read 360 minutes over two weeks time for the event.
Culberston said, “You’d think I was a different person (in this costume).”