The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

April 22, 2013

Pucker up Polly

Teachers raise money for Relay


TARBORO — Last year, Pattillo Elementary School teacher Kristi Boyle had a blast during the “Kiss the Pig” fundraiser she organized for Edgecombe County Relay of Life. This year, she didn’t quite like the results as much because she actually had to kiss the pig.

Boyle was one of three teachers who kissed “Polly,” the pet pig, Friday in the school’s gym in front of the student body. In an apparent attempt to raise money and have fun at the same time, each teacher placed a jar in their classroom. Students were encouraged to place money in the jars. The three teachers that raised the most money were awarded the daunting task of kissing Polly.

Boyle collected first place with $37.23, while Tara Bonnot came in second, ($26.09) and Tanya Conti third ($23.38).

As the winner, Boyle was the last teacher to kiss the pig. Unlike Bonnot and Conti, who quickly puckered up and kissed “Holly” without hesitation, she walked slowly to the middle of the gym where the animal and her owner, Bobbi Jo Abrams were standing. After Boyle was apparently hesitating in despair, the students chanted in unison, “Kiss the pig." Boyle finally walked closer and quickly kissed Holly on her snout.

“I didn’t want to do it,” she said. “Last year I didn’t even get close (to winning). This year It seems like the kids were putting money in my jar every day.

“But it was a lot of fun. The kids absolutely loved it.”

Raising $1,460, Boyle called the event "successful." Pattillo's goal for Relay for Life is $1,960.

Edgecombe County Relay For Life draws hundreds of participants and guests and has been deemed as one of the largest events held in Edgecombe. The event raises money for the American Cancer Society. This year's Relay is set for May 3 -4 at Tarboro High School football stadium with 51 teams participating. The goal is set at $203,200.

There is no word on whether Polly will attend.

Polly is a house-trained teacup pig that participated in her first kissing contest. Abrams said Polly seems to have had as much fun as the students.

"She acted like she really liked it," Abrams said. "It was liked she puckered right up."

Abrams also assisted with an event at SouthWest Edgecombe with her miniature donkey. Staff there paid $20 to kiss the animal.