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Students raise more than $45,000, tape principal as reward

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  • | 5:00 a.m. December 21, 2011
More than 1,200 pieces of duct tape held Principal Bill Stenger to the wall.
More than 1,200 pieces of duct tape held Principal Bill Stenger to the wall.
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LAKEWOOD RANCH — Willis Elementary School Principal Bill Stenger had never been in a bind like this one.

As students filed into the cafeteria Dec. 13 for lunch, each gasped in excitement upon seeing Stenger standing on a small stepstool against the wall. Spelled out in tape above him was a sign with the number “$45,815.65” — the amount children raised during this year’s walk-a-thon fundraiser. And to each side, neon green signs echoed students’ months-long taunt of “On the Wall.”

As they filed in, each student took at least one 20-inch piece of duct tape and strategically used it to secure their beloved principal to the wall. And after each child had his turn —18 rolls of duct tape and three hours after starting — students gathered in the cafeteria to watch teachers remove the stool from beneath Stenger’s feet and see their principal hang.

“It was really cool,” 8-year-old Kristen Barbarito said of the stunt, adding she was torn between wanting to see Stenger fall or hang. “They took the stool out, and he didn’t fall. It was pretty amazing to see. It was really fun. You got to help get him taped up.”

Stenger, who ended up with more than 1,200 pieces of green and blue tape covering him, stayed in good spirits throughout the event, teasing students as they further hindered his mobility.

“The kids had a great time,” Stenger said. “A couple of them would say, ‘Sorry,’ and the rest would just laugh (as they put tape on me). They were really excited about it.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “There’s no question (I was) stuck.”

For the last several years, Stenger has spent a day on the school’s roof to reward students for reaching walk-a-thon fundraising goals. This year, however, he wanted to do something different, agreeing to be taped to the wall if children again met fundraising goals. Children, Stenger said, have been chanting “On the wall” at him since he announced the duct-tape stunt in early October.

“This is how you (motivate students),” Stenger said of why he did it. “It’s all about the kids.”

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

Intertape Polymer Group donated blue and green duct tape for the event.

“It’s definitely the most unusual thing we’ve seen with our duct tape,” Intertape marketing associate Erin Jones said. “We hadn’t stuck anyone to a wall before.”


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