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Ready, aim, fire, pie throw benefits Laurel Ridge Haiti project

by: Barbara Sherman Laurel Ridge Middle School student Katelynn Adams fires a pie into the face of Principal Steve Emmert, a reward for raising the most money to help pay tuition for students in Haiti.

People usually are generous about giving to a good cause because it makes them feel good, and it is the right thing to do - but it never hurts to have an added incentive like being able to throw a pie in the principal's face and giving a teacher a colorful Mohawk.

That was the incentive proposed to students at Laurel Ridge Middle School, who paid the $240 annual tuition for each of 25 students in Haiti for the 2010-11 school year and are funding the tuition for 20 students for the 2011-12 year, as the Haitian government does not pay for public education.

This year LRMS leadership students are planning and holding fundraisers to raise money to pay the tuition.

The tuition program started after Principal Steve Emmert met a young man from Haiti two months after the January 2010 earthquake and learned about the harsh conditions there. Emmert is a member of Solid Rock Church in Tigard, which has partnered with Forward Edge International, to run a feeding program and build small houses for homeless people in the Port au Prince area.

Emmert spent a week working in Haiti in August 2010 as other church members have done, and he has gotten the LRMS student body enthusiastic about helping students in that desperately poor country.

As an added incentive to raise $2,000 by Veterans Day, Emmert pledged to let a student throw a pie in his face, and leadership teacher Nathan Yoder upped the ante, pledging to get his hair styled in a green Mohawk.

The week before the deadline, there was still a gaping hole in the amount of money needing to be collected, but a last-minute rally brought in $800, and eighth-grader Katelynn Adams donated the most money.

Therefore, she got the honor of creaming the principal, which was done in front of the entire student body during the monthly PRIDE assembly for the Character Counts program.

Emmert came prepared, wearing a black plastic garbage sack and goggles, and he stood in a specially prepared spot in the gym where the wall and floor were covered in plastic.

Katelynn advanced on him holding the pie high and let him have it as her friends shot photos.

A little cream from the pie ended up on the wall above the plastic, but the wall was the only casualty from the event.

Yoder got his green Mohawk complete with green polka dots on the rest of his head at lunchtime prior to the assembly.

What will Emmert and Yoder do if the kids raise the second one-third of the annual tuition in time?

Stay tuned.