Collettsville principal a man of his word

May. 18, 2014 @ 09:00 AM

As students arrived at Collettsville School Friday morning, their principal, Craig Styron, greeted them just like he has every other day, except for the bright blonde wig, tiara, black dress, high heels, bracelets, rings, necklace, makeup and lipstick. He even had his nails painted.

Students bounded out of their parents’ cars laughing loudly and shouting to “Mrs. Styron,” who repled in a high-pitched voice, “Helloooo!”

The students lingered on the sidewalk beside him, snapping quick photos with him, joking, giggling and shouting, “Mrs. Styron, you’re the best principal!”

Styron sealed his fate when he challenged his students to come April 15 to Title I Math night at Food Lion, an event that gives students and parents math-related activities to perform, like price comparisons and fitting certain items into a specified budget. If enough showed up, he told them, he would spend a day at school dressed as a woman.

“I threw out a random number -- 120 people,” he said. “For a school of 334, that’s a lot of folks.”

Well over 130 showed up.

So Styron was up early Friday morning. At 5:45 a.m. Jackie Bradshaw, the school’s secretary, and Violet Huffman, a custodian, helped him get dressed -- with clothes borrowed from his wife and daughter-in-law -- and put on his makeup. His daughter did his nails.

“He’s a card -- he made good on his bet,” Bradshaw said. “He’s a good guy and he gets our students so cranked up and going.”

With the end of the school year around the corner, testing is on the forefront of students’ and teachers’ minds, and Styron thought he’d help relieve the stress and tension a bit.

"It's all in good fun, obviously," Styron said. "To show how much I care about them and the community."

The next math night isn’t until the fall, and Styron’s unsure whether he’ll make a similar bet.

“If I do, I’ll probably double the numbers,” he said.