UPPER DUBLIN >> It took the entire student body, 12 rolls of duct tape — 660 yards — and an hour, but they did it. When the clock struck 3 on Nov. 27, Thomas Fitzwater Elementary School Principal Peter Alston was stuck to the gym wall.
The 6-foot-5-inch, 285-pound leader of the school had challenged the students to raise $20,000 this year for the school’s fourth biennial Race for Education, sponsored by the Parent Teacher Organization, the proceeds of which fund some extras for the school. The students and staff — 85 percent participated this year, according to Alston — managed to raise $29,306.50.
Race for Education is a national program that helps schools raise money, said Alston, noting this year’s fundraiser was the fourth held in his eight years at the helm of the school. The Get Movin Crew also helps facilitate the campaign, he said.
Alston is now four for four in losing every challenge he has made for the fundraiser.
The first year he shaved his head after the $10,000 goal was met. The second year he wore a cheetah suit — the school’s mascot — when the fundraiser hit the $15,000 goal.
“It’s not easy to find a cheetah suit in my size,” Alston said.
The third time, two years ago, he dyed his hair after a $20,000 goal was achieved, setting a record of $23,500.
This year Alston said he “tried to get the kids motivated” by promising to let the students duct-tape him to a wall if they met the challenge, again set for $20,000.
“I hoped we would raise $20,000, but I didn’t think we would,” Alston said. “We crushed our goal. It’s starting to sink in now,” he said, just before the celebration assembly.
Funds raised will go to purchase additional Chromebooks, musical equipment, air conditioning for the art and music classrooms and new chairs for large, special events, such as graduation, he said.
Clad in his cheetah suit, Alston was greeted with cheers by the students who had gathered in the gym Monday afternoon. After going backstage, he returned in street clothes — he didn’t want the cheetah suit to become a sticky mess — climbed onto two student desk chairs and the students lined up to tape him to the wall.
An hour later, the chairs were removed and he was stuck.
“It was well worth it,” Alston said, looking down from his perch about a foot off the ground. “You guys did a great job.”