GLADWIN – Kissing a full-grown camel probably wasn’t on Gladwin Intermediate School Principal’s list of life-goals, but you work with young kids, you have to learn to expect the unexpected. 

“It wasn’t something I was looking forward to,” Cote said, going on to state that the kids really enjoyed seeing their principal kiss a camel. 

The stunt was an incentive for the annual canned food drive put on by Gladwin Intermediate during Red Ribbon Week – a national drug and alcohol prevention program. 

Each year Kristy Lyons, the social worker at the school, organizes the canned food drive. A fun and crazy incentive is thought of each year, usually a stunt performed by the principal. This year’s stunt was able to be completed thanks to Terry Guoan, who owns Nose to Toes Grooming and Zoo in Standish. Guoan donated his time and services to bring the camel, named Wednesday, to the students.

To earn this experience for Cote, the students managed to collect 4,664 food items that were donated to the Sacred Heart Misson Food Pantry. In total, three truck loads of food items were taken to the Misson. 

The winning class for this year was Mr. Bryan Randle’s class, who collected 1,034 cans.

“I was a little shocked about how well it motivated the students and community to bring in cans of food,” Cote said. 

To celebrate their accomplishment, the students at the school had an assembly. The students were not only excited about the amount they raised, but about seeing their principal kiss the camel, and the students weren’t the only ones to be excited. Third grade teacher Dominic Lake also got in on the fun, and kissed Wednesday as well.

Despite the less than appealing kiss of Wednesday the camel, Cote says the kids reaction made everythign worth it, and he hopes that the message stays with the kids. “If they can remember me kissing the camel if they are offered drugs or alcohol then it’s all worth it.” 

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