LIMA — Members from two local schools received punishments to kiss piglets on Friday afternoon.
So, why is it so popular to kiss pigs?
“I don’t know why is it such a bad thing. I have no problem kissing pigs, but I also work with them every day,” joked Troy Ernest of County Line Pork Inc.
His five-week-old piglet was the punishment for Allen East principal Heather Patterson Friday after she challenged her kindergarten through fourth-grade students to read 1,000 books for their Right to Read Week. The students tallied up 4,282 books read.
“They were so excited, they were talking about Mrs. Patterson kissing a pig all week,” said second-grade teacher Kristi Austin. “She’s in fourth grade and she was reading every second she could, and she would just say, ‘I want to see Mrs. Patterson kiss a pig,’ giggle, and be off to read again.”
Across town, Temple Christian teachers were also puckering up as the result of a community-wide canned food drive challenge, “Food Fight.” The school was competing against other organizations but decided to up the ante by pitting class against class. The teacher of the class who collected the fewest cans had to kiss the pig. The school collectively brought in 4,435 cans to win the community contest and set a new record of most cans raised per student in the contest.
“Piglets are cute, they’re a fun animal and kids don’t always get a chance to see them — and it does seem rather embarrassing to have to kiss one,” Austin explained.
In addition to the cute factor, Austin said she thinks it’s become a trend because a lot of students don’t get the chance to see farm animals that close. Meanwhile, several local families like her own raise pigs and other animals, so it’s a great way to bring those communities together. All four of Austin’s children have shown or are still showing at the Allen County Fair each year.
“There’s a kind of perception that they’re from Allen East, they live on a farm, but there are many kids here that have never been in a tractor or have never seen a farm animal,” she said. “There are also many kids that do live on a farm, so we have a lot of resources here to support a farm theme in this community. Also, it was easy because we just called up a dad and local farmer to bring in the pig.”
Luckily for Mrs. Patterson and the seven Temple Christian teachers, Ernest said kissing pigs isn’t too dangerous.
“They do have teeth, but I don’t think they would typically bite,” he said. “I kind of put my hand over his nose (for Mrs. Patterson) so he wouldn’t bite accidentally. Usually they’re pretty calm, docile animals.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.