Principal's pig kiss rewards reading

Posted: Wednesday, May 02, 2001

Harborview Elementary Principal Bob Dye wanted to kiss the pig, but no one asked the pig first.

So Dye plied Nort, a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, with pellets of food, gradually raising the handout until Nort had to lift his snout to get one. Then Dye kissed the munching beast.

Tuesday's public pig-kissing was the reward for Harborview's 440 students, who read a combined 5,302 books in the past six weeks on a bet with Dye.

"I would do almost anything if it meant all of you would read more," Dye told the students at an assembly.

The bet motivated third-grader Nathan Graves, said his mother, Jo Anne Bell-Graves, president of the school's Parent Teacher Association.

"He wasn't reading at all. This got him going," she said.

"Our teacher made us read more longer books," Nathan said. "I read about six, seven, eight. They were all big books."

The bet was a good way to get kids to read, Nathan said. "It's just humiliating to really kiss a pig."

Nort, 12, is the 80-pound pet of Jim and Ella Bentley. He shares the house with a dachshund and a cat from the pound. Nort has a bed and rings a bell when he wants to go out. But mostly he eats and sleeps and stays indoors, especially in the winter.

"He's a real wuss," Jim Bentley said.

Students sang "Old McDonald" at the assembly, and some of them sang "Heart and Soul" using the words "Heart and Snout."

The humor escaped Nort, who never stopped eating.

Eric Fry can be reached at

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