Center School District celebrates success

Photo by Patrick Shea Closing out the year at Center Schools, Superintendent Carrie Zimmerman kissed a pig, a revived tradition at the school.

CENTER — Superintendent Carrie Zimmerman capped off a revived tradition at the Center School District when she kissed a pig on the snout on May 11. Roving super-substitute teacher Wanetta Tipsword brought her pig to the school’s main gym for a series of smooches.

According to veteran Center educators, the tradition has been dormant for 13 years. Graduating seniors were not in kindergarten yet when the last pig-kissing event took place on campus. The entire student body filled the gymnasium for the spectacle this year. With the floor covered to accommodate potential accidents, Tipsword wandered with her pig as teachers and administrators puckered up and took turns.

Elementary School Principal Jared Morgan stepped up first. With extra lipstick on his face, Morgan circled the stands and hammed it up before grabbing the pig’s head with both hands and showing his affection. Morgan will be leaving Center to take the Superintendent position at Sanford Schools.

Skoglund Middle School science teacher Tayler Kriss followed Morgan with a decidedly different approach. Having received the most votes (stuffed ballots), Kriss walked dejectedly to his porcine encounter. He survived. Other teachers and students followed, highlighted by Superintendent Zimmerman’s reluctant tryst.

During the evening on May 12, Center school athletes, coaches, and families celebrated this year’s accomplishments at the Viking Athletic Association awards banquet. The final band performance brought students, staff, and families together on May 15. High schoolers shared accomplishments with the rest of the school during the day on May 15, followed by a full awards ceremony on May 16 in the school auditorium. Middle schoolers will be honored next week.

Juniors presented their Capstone projects during the first week of May, and graduating seniors conducted exit interviews the following week. As students advanced to their next chapters, Center educators also progressed professionally.

Katrina Ruggles received her PhD in Counselor Education.

Jackie Ortiz earned her master's in special education from Adams State University.

Graduating Cum Laude, Angel Guerrero received his bachelor’s in secondary education (English).

The Adams State School of Education recognizes outstanding educators every month with the Educator Highlight Award. Center’s Anna Bishop won the award for April. Bishop is a CDL specialist, a teacher who works with students who are culturally or linguistically diverse (sometimes both). Working with a colleague, Bishop also runs the middle school yearbook project.

While students and teachers advanced, Center School District nurse Wendy Murillo instituted a program that turned five students into Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Alexia Badachi, Willa Seez-Sanchez, Ciara Paia, Yulisa Maldonado, and Arazeliz Garcia graduated from the program before graduating from high school.

The Center High School graduation will take place in the main gym on May 27, starting at 10 a.m.