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Redmond Elementary's Teshima dons penguin suit after students raise $10,000

Redmond Elementary School principal Joyce Teshima greets students with high fives in her penguin suit. Teshima dressed up as the cold-weather bird after students raised $10,000 by selling cookie dough, magazine subscriptions and online gifts. - Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter
Redmond Elementary School principal Joyce Teshima greets students with high fives in her penguin suit. Teshima dressed up as the cold-weather bird after students raised $10,000 by selling cookie dough, magazine subscriptions and online gifts.
— image credit: Samantha Pak, Redmond Reporter

For anyone who may have spotted an oversized penguin waddling around downtown Redmond Friday afternoon, you were not just seeing things and you were not alone.

Redmond Elementary School (RES), usually home of the hawks, has been all about the cold-weather bird for several weeks as students have raised about $10,000 for their school by selling cookie dough, magazine subscriptions and online gifts.

It was announced at the kickoff assembly for the fund-raiser a few weeks ago that principal Joyce Teshima would don a penguin suit for a day if the school reached its goal to raise $6,500. Teshima was surprised by the announcement since it was made — with no prior notification — by a representative from Great American Fundraising, the organization RES worked with for the fund-raiser. But as she's been known to wear a homemade ninja duck costume in the past to motivate students during a previous fund-raiser, Teshima didn't back down from the challenge when her students met and surpassed the set goal. She even seemed to enjoy the plush-toy fashion statement she was making.

"I feel like a teddy bear," she said Friday, though she admitted that her head was really hot in the costume.

BIRD ABOUT TOWN

Teshima joined students outside during recess — her penguin suit protecting her from the cold — and visited individual classrooms to show off her new look. Everywhere she went, she was swarmed by students eager to see the costume up close.

"It was a rockstar coming onto the playground," said RES PTSA President Elena Savage about Teshima's first appearance as a penguin.

In addition to recess and classroom visits, Teshima also took her one-bird show on the road, making a bank run and stopping by Dairy Queen for — what else — a Blizzard. She even waddled by the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) Resource Center in Redmond Town Center to see Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce, who had visited RES earlier in the day and thoroughly enjoyed Teshima's feathered look.

EXCEEDING EXPECTATIONS

Pierce wasn't the only one who enjoyed it.

Third-grader Audrey Wilson said the idea of having her school principal dress up as a penguin for a day definitely motivated her to sell. And sell she did. As the school's top seller, Audrey raised $765, though she said there were other factors that pushed her to sell.

"I just wanted to sell a lot of cookie dough to get prizes," the 8-year-old said.

Audrey definitely did that as her sales included 51 tubs of cookie dough. The prizes she will receive for her efforts include an iPod Shuffle, a remote-control bird and an assortment of penguin key chains.

Other top sellers at RES were Catie Hall, who brought in $500, including 33 tubs of cookie dough, and Amelia Lange, who raised $435, including 29 tubs of cookie dough.

The top classroom raised $3,635 and three-quarters of the classes in the school each brought in at least $1,000 or more.

"They rose to the occasion," Savage said about the students' fund-raising efforts. "Those kids rallied to the idea of supporting their school."

She said the money they raised will help pay for various math and arts programs, the school's Accelerated Reader program and more.

While RES raised $7,000 during last year's fundraiser, Savage said they decided to lower their goal due to the district-wide grade reconfiguration and the school's loss of sixth graders. She said their population — 401 according to the school's website — is about the same as last year but with a large number of kindergartners and first graders, they didn't know how well the younger students would do with selling.

"We expected to be less just because the population changed," Savage said. "(The students) totally proved us wrong."

 

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