Any sound Hamlet the pig made when he was introduced Wednesday to the student body of Oak Grove Elementary School was drowned out by the squeals of about 300 kids.
Hamlet, a 6-month-old pig from Four Storms Farm, was on hand to help Principal Jerrie Matuszak make good on a bet: If students raised $20,000 for the Sept. 27 jog-a-thon, she would kiss a pig. The final tally was $20,188.
After putting on her lipstick, Matuszak handed out prizes for top runners in the school — fifth-graders Kalin Blaine and Aiden Hammond — and raffled off other prizes to remaining students.
Prizes included being principal for an afternoon and a special lunch at Albany Fire Station No. 11. Hamlet didn’t get a prize, but owner Brooke Storms said he was ready for his close-up.
“He took a road trip with us when he was a baby so he’s used to a lot of people,” she said of the black-and-white pig.
Storms, who has a small farm in Scio and manages Hamlet’s Instagram page, said she was contacted by the parent teacher club from Oak Grove about possibly using Hamlet for Wednesday’s assembly.
“He’s on the internet a lot, so they found us there,” she said.
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Club president Leann Gurney organized the assembly and the jog-a-thon. She was on hand Wednesday to hand out prizes and make sure Matuszak followed through on her promise.
“It’s our biggest fundraiser of the year,” she said of the jog-a-thon, which saw 364 kids doing laps at various times of the school day. The top runners ran about 16 laps, she said.
“It was the first year we had an online fundraising system, which our parents appreciated,” Gurney said.
The money will be used year-round to purchase approximately $1,000 in books for the school’s Battle of the Books competition and pay for field trips.
“The school doesn’t pay for art anymore,” she said. “So we have someone come in three times a year and do an art project with the kids,” Gurney said, noting that some of the funds will pay for art supplies as well.
Mutuszak said the experience was a good one and told students, “I’m most proud of the way you were encouraging each other while you ran around that track.”