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Cato-Meridian Elementary Celebrates Successful Reading Challenge With Hogs and Kisses

Watch the recording of the pig party:

All eyes were on the stage as Cato-Meridian Elementary students entered the auditorium at a recent assembly. Students excitedly pointed toward the stage and let out squeals of delight as they recognized the animals that were staring back at them: pigs! 

As the students sat down, they adjusted the pig-themed paper hats that rested on their heads. Some displayed signs with creative statements like: "Kiss The Pig!" and "Go Pig Or Go Home!" 

A student displays a sign that reads: Kiss The Pig!

The students were about to witness something they had been working towards for the past month. In March, Principal Danielle Mahoney promised to kiss a pig if Elementary students collectively read for more than 40,000 minutes. The students easily beat that goal. At the assembly, Mahoney announced that Cato-Meridian students read for a total of 181,032 minutes. She kept her promise and even went overboard, kissing not one, but five pigs. Four piglets came from Hillman Farms in Phoenix, while the boar came from a friend.

Principal Danielle Mahoney leans over and kisses a piglet

Students cheered as they watched Mahoney lean in and kiss each pig. But how did she feel after kissing the pigs? 

"It was pig-tastic," Mahoney said. "I would do almost everything for our kids, even kissing five pigs!" 

There's still more fun to come for Elementary students. As an additional reward for their reading success, they will watch School Resource Officer Mark Lovell roll in the mud later this Spring. The entire district also earned a day off from school after meeting Superintendent Terry Ward's challenge. Students will enjoy a "snow day in May" on Friday, May 27.

Piglets walk around in a pen on the Cato-Meridian Auditorium stage

Principal Danielle Mahoney crouches next to a boar in a stroller

A student displays a sign that reads: Go pig or go home!