Kissing four-legged critters

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 12, 2011

By Mark Wineka
There once was a bull, a pig and a dog.
The punchline to this joke came Friday from three Sacred Heart Catholic School teachers who kissed these animals as a way of saluting their students’ fundraising for the Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary.
None of the four-legged friends turned into a handsome prince.
But first things first.
Matthew Chilton, an eighth-grader and president of the student body, said his schoolmates raised $1,226.71 in cash and gathered several boxes of supplies for the animal sanctuary, now under construction on Grace Church Road.
The sanctuary will open sometime this summer, President Mary Padavick said.
Each 25 cents a Sacred Heart student raised translated to a vote he or she could use for a teacher. The teachers with the most votes received the high honor of kissing the animals in front of the 230-student body Friday afternoon.
All the money was raised in one week.
The sixth grade, which includes 26 students, collected the most — $265.
The eighth grade came in second, bringing in $162. But as a percentage, the eighth-graders raised more per student.
“I’ve never, ever been as proud of this school as I am today,” guidance counselor Karen Wenker said. More animals will be cared for and have homes because of the school’s efforts in raising money and supplies, she said.
But back to the kissing. Let’s introduce the winning teachers:
• First place, Katie Meseroll, athletic director and second-and third-grade math teacher. She would get to kiss Ike, the miniature Hereford bull.
• Second place, Crystal Cornelison, fourth-grade teacher. She would pucker up for James Hamilton, a pot-bellied pig.
• Third place, Kay Paul, the middle school language arts teacher. She would be kissing Maggie, the pug belonging to Father John Putnam
Meseroll had some anxious moments while waiting to perform her bull-kissing duties.
“It’s not looking too miniature,” she said, noting Ike’s size and owner Lori Watson’s tight grip on his rope.
But Meseroll had no doubts she would follow through.
“At least it’s for a good cause,” she said.
To the delight of students, Paul started things off by planting two kisses on Maggie, whose use of her tongue suggested she had learned a thing to two from the French.
Cornelison inserted a pair of red plastic lips into her mouth before trying to kiss James Hamilton, the pig.
Cries of “cheater” floated up from the student body.
Raising a pot-bellied pig off the ground for a kiss defies the law of gravity sometimes, especially when the pig is stubborn and has its snout down looking for food.
So Cornelison satisfied her pig-kissing duties with a smooch on the top of his head.
Meseroll did her best to reach the nervous Ike, who acted as though this was his first schoolyard kiss. Meseroll got close enough for a peck on his forehead with her first try.
On the second pass, she kissed Ike near his nose. But Ike was having nothing to do with anything closer, despite a good-faith effort by Meseroll.
The teachers’ brave efforts proved enough for the Sacred Heart students.
Faithful Friends President Padavick and Vice President Shannon Moore gave their thanks, and the kids left for the waiting cars, taking them home for the weekend.
Out in the school driveway, Meseroll already was directing traffic.
You kiss a bull and still have traffic duty? Teachers know all about “kiss-met.”
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.