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Archive for Friday, May 29, 1998

PRINCIPAL PUCKERS UP FOR LITERACY

May 29, 1998

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Cordley School's principal cuddles up to a yak to pay off a promise.

Cordley School principal Tom Christie had a big yak attack Thursday, thanks to his students.

Last month Christie issued a challenge to Cordley students; if they could read 100,000 pages between May 1 and May 26 he would kiss a yak in front of the entire school.

Sure enough, students in the school took to the tomes and surpassed the goal. They read 118,320 pages, and Christie kept his word. With the heat on, he puckered up and planted one on Yoly the Yak, to the chants of ``Kiss the yak!''

``This is something Joyce Bell, our librarian, and I worked on together,'' Christie said. ``The ability to read is the single most important indicator of success later in life.''

Last year Christie issued a similar challenge and kissed a zebra.

``We're working our way backward in the alphabet,'' he said. ``We might be in trouble next year. I've never heard of an animal that begins with `X.'''

After bussing Yoly, Christie was in for a surprise. Yoly's owner, Peach Madl, brought along another pet, a donkey, for Christie to kiss.

``Does anybody want to see Dr. Christie kiss the donkey?'' Madl asked.

The students gave a resounding ``yes'' and Christie leaned in for the smooch.

He paused, and asked the students if they were willing to read more.

``Can you read 25,000 pages between now and the end of the school year?'' he asked.

Again, the answer was ``Yes.''

So what is it like to plant one on an animal?

``This is great,'' Christie said.

Students were enthusiastic about the event.

``I thought it was really funny,'' fifth-grader Jeremy Jones said.

If Christie rises to the challenge again, he'll most likely call on Madl's services. Madl and her family own Madl Farms near Wellsville. Their menagerie includes zebra, elk, deer, buffalo, yak, cattle and horses.

``We have these animals just for fun,'' she said. ``Sharing them with kids who wouldn't otherwise get to see them is half the fun.''

--JL Watson's phone message number is 832-7145. Her e-mail address is jwatson@ljworld.com.

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