There was excitement swirling the black top on Friday, April 20 around noon at Cardozo Middle School when Dorothy the Goat arrived on campus. Vice Principal Greg Diaz had previously agreed to give Dorothy a smooch if Cardozo students could raise $250 to reach their goal for Eagle Day.
CMS Special Education teacher and Leadership Advisor Melissa Werner and husband Ron have a small ranchette in Oakdale with their children and three goats, 14 chickens, two dogs, and one cat.
“My children are involved in the Valley Home 4-H, which began our interest in raising some farm animals,” said Werner. “They are all actually pretty spoiled.”
The fun began when the junior high students were participating in their annual Penny Wars fundraiser that provides funds for Eagle Day in February. Trying to stir up some excitement for Penny Wars, Werner put it out there to the teachers that for the first period class with the least amount of money raised their teacher would have to do something kooky like kiss a farm animal.
“The teacher that actually brought in the least amount of money was our Spanish Teacher, Ms. Diaz (no relation to Mr. Diaz),” stated Werner. “She agreed to kiss the goat, but I knew we had to find a way to ‘save’ her. As the smooching day approached, I began talking to students and they said they would actually like to see Mr. Diaz kiss the goat.”
Making the task a bit more pleasing Werner set a goal for raising $250 in three days and if the students and staff could reach that goal Mr. Diaz would then give the goat a kiss.
“He is such a good sport,” added Werner. “I asked many students on campus if they would be willing to donate more money to Eagle Day just to see Mr. Diaz kiss a goat, and the students seemed really excited and enthusiastic about it. Even staff opened their wallets to contribute. They wanted to see this.”
With the new deal, leadership students, Werner and a fellow teacher hit the halls with a donation box before school, during brunch, and both lunch periods collecting cash.
Reaching their goal of $250 the moment for Diaz to honor his side of the deal happened out on the black top and although neither Dorothy or Diaz seemed to be that excited, the students were all smiles and had their phones out to capture the moment.
“I like doing stuff like this and the kids love it,” said Diaz with a smile. “The goat just happened to be one of Ms. Werner’s so her husband brought her down and it was a goat we knew that was not going to chew my face off. It (the kiss) was very tasty. A little bbq sauce would have helped.”
The first kiss happened without incident and after a few minutes the students started chanting “one more time.” So being a good sport and with all the encouragement Diaz went in for a second kiss. Although Dorothy was reluctant to participate and nervous with the crowd and the noise the second kiss went without incident as well.
The students were laughing and clapping and had several questions for Diaz after the event like how did he prepare and if he practiced on a stuffed goat.
“Luckily, Mr. Diaz is such a great guy and reluctantly kissed Dorothy for a second time,” added Werner. “Several teachers thought it was super funny and a great idea. Students were also saying how funny it was to see Mr. Diaz kiss a goat. I think they saw a softer side of Mr. Diaz.”
Mixing a little fun with fundraising gave many that participated a good chuckle and big smiles allowing students to have some fun during their regular school day.
“I thought it was an excellent event,” said Principal Kevin Bizzini. “It was great to have the kids all gathered around and excited about raising money for Eagle Day, that is what it was all about.”
Eagle Day will be held on Friday, May 25 and leadership is currently working out all the details to make a memorable end of year celebration for the students.
On Wednesday, May 2 at 7 p.m. in the gym, Cardozo Middle School will host Care Night which is an evening to recognize and honor students and their accomplishments.