Highland News Leader

Alhambra, Grantfork students slime principal as reward for staying off electronics

Student raises $15,000 for American Heart Association, gets to slime teachers

Wini James raised a total of $15,595 since Kindergarten for the American Heart Association. As a reward she slimed Superintendent Dave Deets and the other top fundraisers at Emge Junior High got to slime their favorite teacher and principals.
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Wini James raised a total of $15,595 since Kindergarten for the American Heart Association. As a reward she slimed Superintendent Dave Deets and the other top fundraisers at Emge Junior High got to slime their favorite teacher and principals.

Students from Grantfork Elementary and Alhambra Primary recently had the unique pleasure of, wait for it — sliming their principal. Yes, sliming their principal.

As a reward for winning the “Take the Challenge” series — which this year focused on the dangers of too much screen time on electronic devices — the students dumped buckets of different colored slime on Cindy Tolbert, the principal at both Alhambra and Grantfork.

For Alhambra, the sliming took place in the gymnasium; for Grantfork it was outside. And Tolbert, who started the series five years ago, definitely did not mind the slime shower.

“Every teacher and student from pre-kindergarten through fifth grade anxiously waited to witness their principal being slimed,” Tolbert said regarding Alhambra. “As I walked into the high-energy atmosphere on a cold spring day, I knew the class who had won was eager to pour slime all over me in front of entire school.”

This year’s winning classes were Marissa Weiss’ fourth-graders from Grantfork and Brooke Lewis’ second-graders from Alhambra with 95% participation.

Weiss — in her first year at Grantfork — was excited for her class.

“I’m so proud of my students for taking a challenge that is so difficult,” she said. “It truly shows how dedicated they are to challenging themselves and participating in our school events. I hope that my students understand how important it is to limit their screen time.”

As the reckoning approached, Tolbert noted the Alhambra students filled the gymnasium singing, clapping and stomping to the rhythm of the popular Queen song “We Will Rock You.” She said each student from the winning class began to pour a cup or two of slime on her. Then, once all the students were finished, Lewis completed the duty by pouring a large bucket of slime on her.

“The crowd goes wild … no longer sitting on the floor, the students, teachers and parents stood and shouted with excitement,” Tolbert said. “I could feel the positive energy and excitement in the room.”

Added Weiss, who also poured a bucket of slime on Tolbert, “On top of being proud of their achievement, the kids were beyond excited to get to ‘slime’ Mrs. Tolbert! It’s not very often you get to say you ‘slimed’ your principal.”

Tolbert, who has been the principal for six years, said the sliming was well worth it.

“I love my job as an administrator and will do what it takes to make learning fun. I often times ask myself why I agree to doing these crazy things, but when you see how motivated the kids are and how excited they become during the challenge and at the closing ceremony … it makes it all worth it to me,” she said.

As noted, this year’s series zeroed in on the dangers of excessive screen time, to include electronics such as cellphones, televisions, video games, computers, tablets, etc. For several weeks, Tolbert met with students to teach lessons about spending too much time in front of screens, as well as talking about alternative activities to get kids away from TVs, computers and video games.

After the lessons were completed, all classes at both schools were challenged to surrender all screen time for five days. Students brought in a participation sheet signed by a parent each day, and, at the end of the week, those scores were tallied. The winning classes received a trophy — along with getting to slime Tolbert.

Tolbert stressed this particular series is crucial due to research on the overall adverse effects of children who spend too much time on screens. She also hopes students realize there’s more to life than electronic devices.

“Kids are becoming addicted to screens at an earlier age each year,” Tolbert said. “We are trying to teach kids that life can be fun with no screens. We also teach them about balance when allowed to use screens. I hope students understand and come to the realization that they can still have fun and do things they love without being on screens.

“I hope they learn the dangers of too much screens can have on them and how it can have a negative effect on their life if their screen time is not balanced with other activities.”

Tolbert said the parents are encouraged to participate as well.

“I send home weekly newsletters during the challenge to educate parents on the dangers of too much screen time,” she said.