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Jefferson Academy Principal puckers up for pig after students raise Relay money
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Jefferson Academy Principal DeMaris Gurley, dressed as Petunia the Pig, kisses a pig as a reward for students raising more than $2,000 for Relay for Life. - photo by For The Times

JEFFERSON — Jefferson Academy Principal DeMaris Gurley did it.

She grabbed the bull by the horns — well, pig by the snout — and kissed it.

Before parents become alarmed at Gurley’s unusual behavior, they should know she was doing it to keep a promise to students who helped raise money for Relay for Life.

“That pig was so excited to see me that he just about ran off,” Gurley said.

Gurley’s pig-kissing fate was sealed when the Mighty Dragons fifth-grade service club began collecting dimes to be donated to the Jefferson City Schools’ Relay for Life team.

“Our goal was to fill 54 water bottles with dimes — that would have been two bottles per homeroom,” said Meg Davis, Mighty Dragons faculty adviser. “If we reached our goal, (Gurley) would have had to kiss the pig on the snout.

“We ended up with 22 filled water bottles, so instead of kissing the pig’s snout, (Gurley) got to choose where she wanted to kiss him — so she kissed his head.”

Although they didn’t reach their goal, the students still raised $2,322.

“This was the first time that we’ve done this. We were really shocked to see how much money we were able to raise,” Davis said. “But the kids were really enthusiastic because they really wanted to see (Gurley) kiss a pig.”

However, it should be noted that not all of the students were excited about Gurley’s close encounter with swine.

“One of our students — a third-grader — came up to me and said, ‘Mrs. Gurley, I don’t know if I want you to kiss a pig. What if you get the swine flu,’” Gurley said. “He was as serious as all get out — that was the cutest thing.”

Speaking of cute, Gurley decided to dress for the occasion. To help make the pig feel more at home, she dressed up as “Petunia the Pig.”

“I even wore a bib — in case he drooled on me,” Gurley said.

Although most people would rather never come face to face — much less mouth to snout — with a pig, Gurley said she will gladly do it again if the students want to repeat the fundraiser.

“I’ll do anything for success,” she said. “Be it classroom success or community success, I’ll do anything.”

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