Be careful what you promise Blades students hold principal and teacher to their word

By Lynn R. Parks

Blades Elementary School principal Susan Nancarrow doesn't like the color pink. But on a week ago Friday afternoon, she found herself wrapped in her least favorite color and wearing a crown with a big pink bow. And she couldn't do a thing about it.

In fact, she couldn't do much of anything, including scratch her nose should it become itchy or move her feet to ease her aching back. Nancarrow, along with Blades Elementary teacher Candy Whitelock, was securely taped to a wall in the school cafeteria with layers upon layers of duct tape.

Nancarrow's top layer of tape was pink, selected because students and staff know she doesn't like it. Whitelock's top layer was leopard print, selected because she does like it.

The taping was a reward for students at the school, who raised nearly $3,400 for the American Heart Association through Jump Rope for Heart. For every $5 she or he raised, a student got to apply one piece of yard-long tape to either the principal or Whitelock. In all, the children put up 752 pieces of tape.

The taping started at about 10:30 in the morning. At one that afternoon, stools that were beneath Nancarrow's and Whitelock's feet were removed to test the power of the tape. Whitelock slowly slid to the ground and immediately headed for the bathroom; Nancarrow remained stuck to the wall until volunteers Phyllis Smith and Kim George pulled her down.

"What are you doing, Ms. Nancarrow?" a student asked her.

"Oh, I'm just hanging around," she replied.

The event was planned by the school's physical education teacher, Camie Brown, who headed up the Jump Rope for Heart program and who includes lessons on heart health and obesity in her classes. "Something like [taping staff members to the wall] helps to get the kids interested," she said. "It really got them involved, because we raised more money this year than we did last year."

Whitelock was able to participate because students in her fifth-grade class raised $446, more money than those in any other class. "I support everything that my students do," Whitelock, from her position on the wall, said. "This is a little weird," especially as her feet as well as her hands were asleep by noon. "But it is all in good fun."

Nancarrow's feet and hands didn't go to sleep. But her back hurt through much of the exercise, she said.

"I knew that this would not be easy," she added. "But I'll do anything for our kids. Participating with the American Heart Association helps them understand a little bit about organizations in the community that help others. They also learn why it's important to help others." Allen Clendaniel, 10 and a third-grader at the school, was grinning ear to ear as he put 22 pieces of duct tape on Nancarrow and Whitelock. "It's a good thing to help other people," said Allen, who raised $110 in the school's Jump Rope for Heart program. "And," he added, "this is really a fun thing. I get to tape up the principal!"

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