LIBERTY TOWNSHIP | Students at Liberty Elementary School walked through the doors into the gymnasium for an assembly on Friday morning and gasped at what they saw.
“Oooooh! Pig! Awww! It’s a piggy! It’s a baby pig!” yelled students as they smiled in excitement.
As a way to get the students interested in digging into their One Book One School Program selection of "Charlotte’s Web" by E.B. White, teachers and administrators knew that bringing in a real pig to kick off the program would be a great attention getter.
“You will hear about a little pig, Wilbur, who finds himself in a life-and-death situation and he can’t do it alone. All of you will learn what it’s like to be a faithful friend and to have one too,” Principal Christy Jarka told the students.
Jarka said the school faculty chose "Charlotte’s Web" because it reinforces a variety of life skills including caring, friendship and perseverance.
Over the next month, almost 540 students and over 65 staff members will be reading the book together.
Like a game show, and to build further excitement, Jarka asked the teachers one by one to come and claim their own brand-new copy of "Charlotte’s Web" before each student received theirs.
“Where’s Mr. May? Mr. May, you get a book! Where’s Mrs. Guerrero? Mrs. Guerrero you get a book!” shouted Jarka as the children cheered.
The students and teachers also dressed up in farmer attire to help build excitement for the day—everything from cowboy hats and braids, to John Deere T-shirts and boots. Some teachers even wore pig snouts.
“I think it brings a sense of community with the staff and students and we have a great time bonding together,” said Sarah Olson, special education teacher.
Third-grader Mark Boothe said he has read "Charlotte’s Web" before but would definitely be reading it again.
“I think this is awesome,” Boothe said of the pig at the assembly.
His friend, third-grader Ean Bodnar, said he too had read the book and will be digging in again.
“I think it’s an amazing book. I liked everything about it,” said Bodnar.
Jarka concluded the assembly by reading the first chapter of the book while students and teachers followed along.
“If you are ready to read, say OINK!” Jarka said as all the children responded.