Video: Southold Elementary School principal ‘flying’ for reading

BETH YOUNG PHOTO | Southold Elementary School principal Ellen O'Neill 'flew' Friday afternoon in the school's gym. Ms. O'Neill's stunt was the result of students reading over 100,000 minutes with their parents.

Friday afternoon, just before the end of the school day, Southold Elementary School Principal Ellen O’Neill was hoisted to the ceiling of the school’s gymnasium, where she was set loose to fly across the room in front of all of her cheering students.

When the students signed up to read for a total of 100,000 minutes with their parents as part of the Parents as Reading Partners Principal’s Challenge in late February, they got to chose what Ms. O’Neill would do if they met the challenge.

Some students suggested that she dress up like Lady Gaga. Others suggested that she dance around the school like a ballerina, wear roller skates or sing.

“I would never sing in public. It’s too embarrassing,” she said.

But the idea of swinging across the gym suited her just fine.

As she was preparing for her swing, kids in the bleachers wished her luck, and told her she wasn’t going to get hurt. She assured the youngest ones that she wasn’t going to fall. And the teachers announced that the kids had not only met the challenge, but they’d exceeded it by 175 minutes.

Then, for a few brief minutes, Ms. O’Neill was airborne, swinging with glee as her students roared louder and louder. When she finally came down to the ground, there was a round of high fives all around.

Read more about the event in the March 22nd issue of The Suffolk Times.

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