At some high school assemblies, the students will doze off or distract themselves with friends. But Thursday at the Sutherlin High School gym, the student body sat rapt. Many kids took videos with their cellphones.
“Anytime you can hurt a teacher, they pay pretty close attention,” English teacher Mark Wiley said from the side as two male colleagues had their legs waxed.
Douglas County Fire District No. 2’s Toys for Joy Christmas toy drive had been lagging at SHS for the past few years. But this year’s leadership class decided to use incentives to motivate donors, and their efforts paid off. The school exceeded its goal of 200 toys or $1,000, netting more than twice last year’s total. Unwrapped presents were trickling in up to the day of the assembly, held as a reward for meeting the goal.
“This is probably the most (donations) they’ve had,” said fire district Lt. Josh Waechter.
Leadership class adviser Janelle Newton’s students first had to recruit teachers, then figure out how to best debase them. They thought up having teachers dance and joust with padded clubs.
“We started with ‘eat-it-or wear-it,’” said James Gugel, 18, a leadership class student.
Eat-it-or-wear-it involved having the crowd decide whether the principal and vice principal should eat or have dumped on himself a given food.
When played Thursday, the noise was so loud at points, several students in the freshman section could be seen covering their ears.
The student body spoke with one voice: Eat it, Vice Principal Bill Flora.
After changing into fresh clothes, Flora still smelled like sardines and lemon juice.
“It was worth it, to be embarrassed for 10 minutes for people that really need it,” he said.
Two female teachers received spiky hairdos.
“I’m volunteering for this,” said social studies teacher Lindsay Baimbridge, as if to remind herself. With the aid of pipe cleaners and hair spray, Baimbridge’s hair had been formed into two misshapen points. She had to host a Christmas party at her own children’s school right after work.
Good, SHS students might have said to that.
“Make it slow and painful,” yelled one boy during the waxing.
But the SHS student body clearly wasn’t motivated to give toys to the needy by sadism alone. Many contributed large, handsome presents, and some gave their own money.
Ambrose Brower and the rest of the advanced woodworking class designed and built three large playhouses to donate.
“I threw my other projects aside because I wanted to help out,” said Brower, 17.
After the assembly, Spanish teacher Ransom Bodeen was a popular guy in the cafeteria, having just been waxed. He was peppered with a request he said he’d never heard from students before: “Can I feel your legs?”
He allowed it.
• You can reach reporter Garrett Andrews at 541-957-4218 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.