Archive for Wednesday, April 6, 2005

Principal makes good on promise

April 6, 2005

It's not every day Barbie and Ken come to lunch.

Friday at Tonganoxie Elementary School, principal Jerry Daskoski dressed as a Barbie doll and assistant principal Tammie George dressed as a Ken doll.

It was the children's reward for a successful fund-raiser that will help pay for the purchase of a rock wall to install in the gymnasium for physical education students to use.

George, dressed in a black leather jacket, necktie and motorcycle helmet, drew laughter from children as she went from table to table dispensing ketchup and flexing her muscles.

But clearly, Daskoski was the show stopper.

Dressed in a prom formal, women's dress shoes, a blond wig and tiara, the grade school principal bore little resemblance to his real self.

The charade was the result of a student council fund-raiser in which students contributed more than $1,700 by bringing change to school the week before spring break.

They started by donating pennies the first day, brought nickels the second and dimes and quarters the next two days. It was a contest between the girls and the boys -- to see who would drop the most coins in the jars.

Children did not have to participate in the fund-raiser.

The student council's decision was this -- if the girls won, Daskoski would dress as Barbie, and if the boys won, George would sing a rap song and perform a break dance.

The original goal was $500. When that amount was reached midway through the fund-raiser, to encourage the students further Daskoski and George said they would both dress as Barbie and Ken if the students' contributions topped $1,000.

So that's how TES principal Jerry Daskoski wound up spending at least part of his spring break shopping for a prom dress.

He was concerned about going to a traditional store, knowing he'd be taking evening gowns into a men's dressing room.

And he knew he couldn't go into a women's dressing room.

So at the suggestion of a friend, he wound up at a half-price store in Overland Park -- by himself. When asked if his wife accompanied him, Daskoski laughed and said, "Are you kidding! She (his wife) was fully supportive but did not want to be seen with me in public doing those things."

Finding the right dress took some doing.

"I tried on about 15 prom dresses," Daskoski said.

He had no idea what size he'd need.

"The first one I picked was about a seven or eight, and I got in the dressing room and though this isn't even going to fit around my leg," Daskoski said with a chuckle.

Finally, he settled on a light blue chiffon, size 16, and on sale for $30.

Next came shoes.

Daskoski headed to Wal-Mart.

He found a pair of women's shoes, size 12 extra wide, he thought might work. Again Daskoski didn't want to draw attention to himself.

"Unfortunately they had those shoes on the main aisle so I took them to a darkened inner aisle," Daskoski said. "I slipped my foot in, it fit and I decided -- sold -- they were bluish and my dress was blue."

Then came the wig, an easier task, since Daskoski's daughter works at a business that sells party and wedding items.

She helped him find a shoulder length blond wig, a tiara and a wand -- and convinced him his outfit would be incomplete without false eyelashes.

Daskoski said that throughout the fund-raiser and the shopping trip, he had dreaded the thought of dressing as Barbie and parading through the lunchroom.

"In the 14 years that I've been here I have not been as nervous about anything as I have been about dressing like Barbie," Daskoski said. "For two weeks ahead, I talked to my wife about it, saying honey I just can't do this."

But he realized this was what the students were expecting.

"When Friday came it was like a relief," Daskoski said. "When lunch was over I was exhilarated."

He changed to his regular clothes and made visits to all the classrooms so the children could see him as himself again.

And his costume? The eyelashes went immediately into the trash.

"The dress is hanging in my closet at home, waiting for a garage sale we're going to have next summer," Daskoski said.

The next time, the students have a fund-raiser and ask the administrators to do something silly, Daskoski said he and George will decide what it will be, rather than let the students decide.

"It (dressing like Barbie and Ken) really did help the fund-raising," Daskoski said. "Only for the kids -- I would not do this for anything else."

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