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The big chill: Principal wins a night on the roof

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Catherine W. Idzerda
November 10, 2007

— No one could say she didn’t have it coming.

Last night, St. Mary’s School Principal Judy Garvin spent a chilly night on the roof of the Nativity House, just behind the school.


The evening on the roof was her reward—or rather her students’ reward—for having reached a school fund-raising goal in a magazine sales drive.


“Up until a couple of years ago, we used to use the incentive program provided by the magazine company,” Garvin said. “But the prizes weren’t always worth the effort, and we wanted to find a way to make it more of a cooperative effort.”


For the first 300 subscriptions, the whole school participated in a mechanical pig race and feasted on root beer floats. For 400, students won a day of casual dress, out of their uniforms; 500 sales resulted in an all-school pizza party, and 600 put the principal on the roof.


At 3 p.m. Friday, the students came tearing around the corner of the school, shrieking in delight. Somebody started a gleeful chant: “Get on the roof. Get on the roof.”


Although the kids agreed, “Mrs. Garvin is really nice,” they seemed to relish the chance to order around the school’s authority figure. She’d be cold all night! She couldn’t order McDonald’s from up there! There’d be nothing to do!


As always, there were dissenters.


“Oh, I would like to be Mrs. Garvin,” Joe Crofts said. “I’m almost 6.”


Yes, camping out on a gravel and tar roof while the November wind blew in gusts around his flimsy tent was Crofts’ idea of a wonderful time.


As for Garvin, she was resigned to her fate.


“It will be kind of nice to have the peace and quiet,” Garvin said of her night on the roof. “I’ll probably read some of my professional journals.”


She also could look forward to her Christmas vacation. The reward for 700 sales was an extra day off during the Christmas holiday. On Friday, the students reached that goal, making everyone—parents, teachers and kids—happy.



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