April 9, 2009
San Juan Diego teachers kiss a goat for charity
Nobody asked Clarabelle, the goat, what she thought of San Juan Diego Middle School's kiss-a-goat project.
But there she was, smack-dab in the middle of it, having to kiss teachers no less! "Ah, the things we do for charity," she BAAA-ed repeatedly. (At least I think that's what she was saying.)
A kiss with Clarabelle was the prize the Catholic school's 70 students were working for during Lent, traditionally a time for fasting, prayer and almsgiving. They brought their coins and dollars to school week-by-week in their handmade Lenten containers, in an effort to raise enough money -- $120 -- to buy a goat for a farming family through Heifer International.
And, oh, yes, the classrooms that raised the most money got to send their teacher forward to kiss Clarabelle.
With that incentive, was there any doubt they'd succeed? Well, they did, raising $180.17. That brought three teachers forward Thursday morning to smooch the not-very-into-it Clarabelle, provided by Sister Janet Weyker from the Racine Dominican Eco-Justice Center, which partners with the fifth through eighth grade school for environmental lessons.
As the third-place winner, her classroom having raised $29, Marybeth Zuhlke went first, tasked with only a quick peck. Second-place winner, Elizabeth Graver, whose classroom raised $40, had to give the goat a three-second kiss. Katie Hills, left, had the unfortunate distinction of leading the classroom that raised the most money -- $80 -- and she and Clarabelle kissed for five seconds, as students cheered and cameras clicked.
Teacher Richard Mathews, who organized the project, also got to kiss Clarabelle. She was no more pleased with him than with the others.
Heifer International provides training and animals to families in developing countries who wish to support themselves through farming. The goat San Juan Diego's students bought will go to a family in Mexico, quite appropriate for many of the school's Hispanic students.
San Juan Diego, a private Catholic middle school serving children from Racine's impoverished neighborhoods, relies nearly completely on public contributions for its funding. Besides its 70 students, it supports its 55 graduates through high school with homework assistance and mentoring support. For more information about the school, contact Laura Sumner Coon, executive director, at 619-0402 ext. 235.