By Chris Hendrickson, Contributing Writer
Mohawks, habanero peppers, Skyhawk wings and the national anthem are just a few of the tactics recently employed by Sultan Middle School Principal Nathan Plummer to get students excited about this year’s book fair.
It was a successful endeavor.
During a morning assembly on Friday March 28, Plummer sat in the middle of the school gym and had his hair shaved into a Mohawk, which he later colored a lively, Skyhawk red. The red coloring was a convenient match to the bright Skyhawk wings he promised to wear for the day to complete the ensemble. He also promised to devour one whole habanero pepper during each lunch period, performing the task while dressed in his Skyhawk regalia.
All because students met the challenge and achieved a total of $2,136 in book sales during the March book fair.
“I put out a challenge, and you guys stepped up to the challenge,” said Plummer. “What I want to say before we get this assembly underway, is that each and every one of you have great contributions to give to this school.”
The idea behind the challenge was to incite some enthusiasm for the book fair, which generates profits that support the middle school library. Sultan Middle School PTSO President Diana Lucas worked with Plummer to come up with a strategy that would motivate the students to sell more books. The spirited challenge that resulted was incremental; the more books they sold, the crazier the tasks that the principal agreed to engage in.
For sales of over $1,400, Plummer pledged to dress as a Skyhawk, complete with a red Mohawk. If students achieved sales of over $1,700, the principal vowed to get a Mohawk, dress up as a Skyhawk and sing the national anthem over the intercom system at the school. Finally, if students achieved sales of $2,000 or more, Plummer would perform all the previously mentioned tasks and eat a habanero pepper during each lunch period.
Plummer’s performance of the national anthem took place earlier in the month, and was acknowledged by one student who declared; “He was so good!”
During recent years, the book fair reported a high sales amount of $1,300.
The assembly was about more than Plummer’s haircut; students at each grade level were acknowledged for demonstrating excellence in academics, citizenship and major growth.
“We haven’t done recognition assemblies here for a really long time,” said Plummer. “We needed to bring that back.”
Students Aiden Fleming, Lydia Sorgen, Francisco Alvarado-Medina, Deborah Lee, Mia Stratman and Camry Zaffram were recognized for academic excellence; Jade Adamski, Gerardo Vallejo-Munoz, Jason Atkinson, Tori Mayer, Tyler Aamold and Claire Sorgen were recognized for strong citizenship; and Rafael Martinez, Salma Aguilar, Harold Wilkinson, Taylor Fadden, Damon Perry and Brittany Suter were recognized for major growth.
Not only were the students recognized for their contributions to the school, but students took a moment to thank Principal Plummer as well as Assistant Principal Ian Miller for their own contributions.
Sixth grade student Windsor Mergenthaler, along with a group of students involved in Rachel’s Challenge, presented the principals with poster that was signed by students school-wide.
Mergenthaler gave a brief presentation honoring both Plummer and Miller.
“We at Sultan Middle School truly appreciate all you do for each and every Skyhawk,” said Mergenthaler. “We have a poster for you that has been signed by the middle school students thanking you for all that you do.”
The assembly was representative of Plummer and Miller’s new initiative meant to generate and encourage positive behavior among the student body. The school is using a model called the Positive Behavior and Intervention Supports (PBIS), which is endorsed by the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Plummer recently purchased a home in Sultan where he lives with his wife and two daughters. He came to Sultan last year from Ridgefield High School, located in Clark County, where he was the assistant principal. He started at Sultan Middle School last fall. The engaging principal showed enthusiasm for his role during the assembly.
“This school is the best school in Washington State,” said Plummer. “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t true.”
Plummer also thanked students for their donations to the victims of the Oso landslide. The coin drive, which was organized by the ASB, has generated many donations from students.
“There have been amazing contributions,” said Plummer. “Just a true display of heart and charity.”
Plummer looks forward to continuing to facilitate school-wide positive behavior.
“I think that it’s really easy for people to want to focus on the negative things,” said Plummer. “We definitely need to be focusing on the positive because there’s so much of it.”
Sultan resident Gini Sorgen’s daughters both attend Sultan Middle School.
“Mr. Plummer is a very fun, active and involved principal and the kids and parents really like him,” said Sorgen.
For more information on events currently happening at Sultan Middle School, you can view the March newsletter here: http://www.sultan.k12.wa.us/sms/docs/Mar2014Newsletter.pdf. For more information on PBIS, visit the OSPI website at: