Last October, elementary school principal Justin Vernon (not that Justin Vernon, obviously) challenged the 170 students in kindergarten through fifth grade at his public school in the Boston area to read a combined 10,000 books by the end of the academic year. The challenge did not come without some conditions:
"They pushed back on me, saying 'If we're going to have to read all these books to meet our goal, you've got to do something for us," Vernon told local news station WCVB-TV. "Somehow I got stuck with dressing up as Lady Gaga and milking a cow."
Vernon made good on his promise this week when the students at Roger Clap Innovation School in Dorchester exceeded their goal by 3,000 books, averaging more than 75 books per student.
To monitor the students – three-quarters of whom qualify for free or reduced-price lunch with a fifth receiving special education services – accountable for their home reading claims, teachers at the school had parents fill out and sign logs.
"Students were always asking 'Is he really going to do it?'" first-grade teacher Tim Apple said.
They got their answer when Vernon arrived in a stretch limo wearing high heels, a frilly black dress, tiara, blonde wig and oversized sunglasses and made his way to the school's athletic field, where a cow awaited him.
Coolest. Principal. Ever.