Erwin principal puckers up for Pretzel the pig

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 20, 2013

A Rowan County principal was caught puckering up under the mistletoe with a pig named Pretzel on Thursday morning.
Erwin Middle School Principal Rick Vanhoy made a promise to the school’s Alpha Leo Club at the beginning of the year, so he had to kiss a pig at a school-wide assembly Thursday morning.
“It’s all about helping the community,” Vanhoy said. “I can think of a lot worse things they could ask me to do than kiss a pig.”
The Alpha Leo Club sponsored a winter fundraiser to support Relay for Life. Vanhoy told students that if they sold more than 500 items, he would kiss Pretzel, a 50-pound miniature potbelly pig from Happy’s Farm. If the students sold more than 1,000 items, Vanhoy promised to kiss a lizard named Peanut.
The students sold 508 items, so Vanhoy kissed Pretzel.
When one of his students asked him if Pretzel tasted like bacon, Vanhoy replied, “It tasted like hair, is what it tasted like.”
The Alpha Leo Club was established in October and includes sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders from Erwin Middle School. They meet once a month and participate in various community service activities throughout the month. This is the first club of its kind at a middle school in Rowan County, according to the club’s advisor, Rhonda Stirewalt.
The Alpha Leo Club is sponsored by the Rockwell Lions Club and teaches students attributes such as compassion, responsibility and caring for others through community service
“It’s enjoyable to be a part of a club at Erwin, because you can help people in your community,” said Kyler Eagle, the club’s president.
“It also makes you feel really good,” club member Katelyn Nesbitt added.
There are currently 58 students in the Alpha Leo Club, but “enrollment is growing every day,” Stirewalt said. “Children want the opportunity to make a difference.”
This is Vanhoy’s first year as principal at Erwin Middle School, but he’s served as an educator in Rowan County for about 25 years.
“He’s very supportive of the staff and the activities that the children are a part of,” Stirewalt said.
Vanhoy encouraged his students to “step up and shine,” pursuing excellence in academics, athletics and fundraising.