Students cream principal, all in good funSplat! That’s how an end-of-the year project concluded for Meyer Middle School Gold House 8th graders Taylar Gergen, Avery Whooley and Shayna Ziriax, as they pushed a cream pie into the face of their principal Mark Chapin around 10 a.m. Friday, June 1, at MMS.
By: Debbie Griffin, River Falls Journal
Splat! That’s how an end-of-the year project concluded for Meyer Middle School Gold House 8th graders Taylar Gergen, Avery Whooley and Shayna Ziriax, as they pushed a cream pie into the face of their principal Mark Chapin around 10 a.m. Friday, June 1, at MMS.
The girls say everyone does a year-end project under the theme Refresh the World.
The point, said Gergen, is to come up with something ‘good for the world’ that also uses key subjects such as social studies, geography, math, history.
The students work individually or in groups, so the three girls formed a team and began to brainstorm.
Whooley, who Gergen says has concern for animal welfare, thought of a project that involved helping to get an animal shelter in River Falls.
“We think that we need an animal shelter in River Falls, because we used to have one,” Gergen said.
The girls, all animal lovers, liked the idea of helping work toward one. They first confirmed there isn’t one, then consulted with a teacher about what they could do.
Soon the trio decided to take a field trip to the animal shelter in Red Wing, Minn. There they spent about two hours working.
Gergen said the girls walked each of the shelter dogs, then took all the cats into the play area for some exercise.
Gergen said about visiting a shelter: “It was the first time for all of us.”
The three friends decided to raise funds and give it to whoever was working toward getting an animal shelter for River Falls and helping creatures in this area.
The girls approached three people about participating and possibly becoming a pieface: MMS Principal Mark Chapin, MMS teacher Jason Wolf and River Falls Mayor Dan Toland.
The concept: The girls sat at Econofoods grocery store from 3-5:30 p.m. for three days with three different jars -- one for each participant. They explained the fundraising concept to shoppers and asked people to deposit money into the jar of their choice.
The girls say most people laughed and thought it was a cute idea. Many gave money and shared the girls’ concern about River Falls’ lack of an animal shelter
They determined the winner on the last night by counting all the money in each jar.
The total amount raised was $150: Chapin’s jar contained $63, Toland’s jar had $57, and Wolf’s held $39.
The trio told Mr. Chapin of his “win” first thing Friday morning, then set a time for him to be creamed.
Gergen said she and Ziriax served the pie while Whooley recorded video.
The girls say yes -- it was great fun to see their principal get a pieface.
They also credit him for being a “really good sport” about it -- everything from saying yes to taking the pie just before an important meeting.
The observation of local students doing a fundraiser for an animal shelter in River Falls relates back to a huge news story that broke when they were still in the first years of elementary school.
The extremely condensed background: A local group started the Humane Society of Pierce and St. Croix about 1970; in 1991 the organization built the structure south of the city at N8128 Hwy. 65.
The trustees of that shelter signed over responsibility for its operations early in 2006 to new “owner” Jen Kamish from Minnesota. Late in 2006, complaints motivated health officials to investigate and subsequently close the shelter due to health concerns over poor conditions and overcrowding.
The new operator denied all allegations, vowing to make adjustments and re-open. Since then, the former animal shelter building has sat empty, with no apparent activity.
A Journal story in early 2007 says Kamish intended to sell the property and open a different location outside River Falls that serves only Pierce County.
County records show the property ‘owner’ of the former shelter as the Humane Society of Pierce and St. Croix, Inc.; the records also indicate that property taxes have not been paid in several years.
River Falls now contracts with the Humane Society of Goodhue County for its animal-control services.