Originally Published: January 11, 2015 6:23 p.m.
Being the principal of an elementary school is the best job in the world! Students during the elementary school years are filled with dreams, imagination, and enthusiasm for learning.
During the 2005-06 school year, I was blessed to become the principal at Taylor Hicks Elementary School. Mr. Aker, former principal of 21 years, had developed such a wonderful family culture within the school and so many great things were already happening at Taylor Hicks.
During my first year, PTA president Desiree Sturdevant approached me with school-wide idea to boost student motivation to read. Ultimately, this began our annual "Million Minute Reading Program." For the past nine years, Taylor Hicks students have had a unified goal to read a million minutes and has followed themed maps to incredible destinations!
A very talented parent, named Carol Walker, hand-painted six, unique 6-foot-by-4-foot maps on canvas. The themes of these maps include "Journey to Million Minute Island," "Living Library," "Read Across America," "Journey Under the Sea," "Lost In Time" and "Milky Way Mission."
This year, we are traveling across our "Journey Under the Sea" map. In a submarine, Taylor Hicks started at New York and first major milestone (250,000 minutes read), was France. Throughout the years if students make their 250,000 minutes benchmark leading up to one million minutes, I would do something out-of-the-ordinary as their award.
Students submit ideas and one would be performed. Let's just say I have performed some interesting acts.
With pride, I have done the following for my students: shaved my head (twice); spent the day on the roof dressed like a hillbilly with a live chicken; dressed head-to-toe in pink including a pink tutu; dressed up like Hanna Montana; staff members threw pie in my face; dressed in a sumo costume, while wearing a hotdog costume ate as many hotdogs as I could; and, most recently, suspended in the air duct taped to the wall.
W.B. Yeats stated, "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Programs like our "Million Minute Reading Program" occur throughout Prescott Unified School District. I am lucky to be a small part of it.
When a former student visits Taylor Hicks and retells a memory like me sitting on the roof with a chicken or how much their favorite teacher cared about them, I know we are lighting a fire for lifelong learners.
Brian Moore is prinicpal at Taylor Hicks Elementary.