Finch office manager kisses pig to help students learn math

Posted by Communications staff on 3/1/2021

Kathy Fiorillo meets the pig she has to kiss. It’s no secret that teachers and schools will do just about anything to help their students learn. Even if it means kissing a pig.

We should probably explain.

Last December, the staff at Finch Elementary created the “Dreambox Challenge” where for the next ten weeks, their 422 students had to average five lessons a week on the online math program for a total of 21,100 lessons.

The school’s reward if they hit their goal? Their office manager, Kathy Fiorillo, would have to kiss a pig. And not just any pig, but a 300-pound pig named “Lucky P,” owned by 6th grade teacher Stevie Dezellem.

That was all the motivation the students needed to tackle the Dreambox Challenge. Finch principal Shane O’Doherty said since the start of the challenge, the school has gone “pig wild.”

“The pig thing was actually a little joke,” Shane said. “But everyone loved the idea and Kathy was willing.”

As the weeks went by and the number of Dreambox lessons completed rose higher and higher, there was nowhere for Kathy to escape the pig-damonium.

“Classrooms have come to sing pig songs to her, [classes] have done pig hats,” said Shane. There’s even of row of pig stuffies perched atop the counter in the main office, right in Kathy’s eye line.

Pig stuffies line the cabinet at the Finch main office Student drawings of pigs in the Finch main office

Unfortunately for Kathy, the school hit their goal of 21,100 Dreambox lessons on the second-to-last week of the challenge. So, on Friday, Feb. 26, Kathy had to fulfill her end of the bargain.

Since Lucky P is too big to leave his home in Deer Park, Kathy had to come to him. With her principal and 6th grade teacher/Lucky’s owner Stevie Dezellem looking on, Kathy planted a big smooch right on top of Lucky’s head.

As much as Shane reveled in watching Kathy kiss that pig – a culmination of the hard work put in by his students – he knows his time will come to do something slightly embarrassing in the name of motivating kids to learn.

“Kathy gets to choose the next challenge I have to do,” he said.

Kathy Fiorillo kneels to kiss 300-pound pig Kathy Fiorillo bending over to kiss a pig