Mud in your eye

Perhaps too afraid to open his mouth, Needham Elementary School Principal Pete Harter was silent as the dirt, mud and manure piled up on his head and ran down his face.

The more than 300 students who earned the honor of gooping the mess on top of him were not afraid as they laughed and cheered.

One by one, students who reached their reading goals during a read-a-thon themed “Around the World in 10 Days” earned the opportunity to scoop and ladle a disgusting mixture of nature on the school’s top boss in what has become tradition.

Pledge forms for the reading event brought in about $13,000 in the school’s biggest fundraiser. The money will be used for everything from providing new technology to paying for field trips.

Durango Nursery and Home Depot helped provide the mess, while Maria’s Bookshop and Dairy Queen provided prizes for the top readers and top earners.

The event is an effective way to get students engaged in reading, said parent volunteer and event coordinator Leanne Beasley. “It’s amazing. Parents even write me e-mails saying, ‘Wow, that’s the most I’ve seen my son read in years,’” said Beasley.