A combination of old-fashioned fun and a silly idea produced giggles, laughter and a sense of togetherness at Archway Veritas’s Kiss the Pig event this past November. Part of the annual Fall Festivitas, the event showcased a brave teacher who puckered up to a small pig named Abraham, courtesy of student votes. Students and staff were able to enjoy the show through Zoom.
Even though the main festival was scratched this year, some events were able to happen, and determined parent volunteers ensured that the Kiss the Pig event was one of them.
“With 2020, it’s great for everyone to be involved with something that gives them a sense of normalcy,” Lauren Morstad, president of Archway Veritas Parent Student Organization, said. “It’s exciting that parents and kids could still be part of this fun event, but the safety of the community was of utmost importance.”
Parent volunteer Kelli Grove provided the school with a COVID-19 safety proposal, and with the help of Walking M Farms out of Mesa (who let Abraham come out and play), the event was transformed from a possibility to a reality.
"It’s fun to see teachers compete for votes and the whole school get excited about the contest. It’s even better when we get to help promote and dance with our dancing pigs out front."
“The virus may have canceled many special events on campus this year,” she said, “but with a little creativity, coupled with safety procedures and a supportive school community, we made it happen. I knew we had to give the kids a little something special to look forward to, something that would lift their spirits and support our teachers and staff as well.”
The Kiss the Pig event also doubled as a fundraiser for the school. Kids could donate their loose change and vote for the teacher they wanted to smooch the swine. According to Morstad, this year’s signature event raised $2,700 for the AVPSO budget, which assists with school-wide events and programs that benefit and support the teachers and administration.
This year’s “kisser” was music teacher Dr. Daniel Atwood, who won out against Dean of Students Moira Hyde and fourth-grade teacher Trevor Guyette.
Reflecting on the fun of being a candidate and winner, Atwood said, “It feels good to join the pantheon of esteemed teachers and colleagues who have given the winning smooch. I tried my best to spread ‘propaganda’ against my opponents with slogans like ‘A vote for Hyde is one in which we can take pride.’ But the students enthusiastically ignored it and voted for me instead.”
Atwood said his advice for anyone who might have to kiss a pig in the future is that the pig may squeal very loudly in your face – so be prepared!
Parent volunteers added some creative flair to the event by wearing whimsical pig costumes before class started on the days leading up to the event. “It’s fun to see teachers compete for votes and the whole school get excited about the contest,” said fourth-grade student Abigail Neal. “It’s even better when we get to help promote and dance with our dancing pigs out front.”