Cody Armitage stands with Principal Barney Pontious

You never know the possibilities unless you try is a concept that’s sometimes hard to teach children as instructors strive to instill greater confidence in students.

Occasionally, a perfect example presents itself to a class, as happened last week with Garfield third grade student Cody Armitage.

As is some other teacher’s classrooms, a reward system is in place in Alycia Pollard’s class. Students have a chance to earn up to four reward bucks a day for general things, like positive manners, working hard, staying on task, and performing their classroom job. Then they also have a chance to earn extra bucks for other things, like helping others.  She has a store list of items kids can buy like stickers, candy or having their shoes off for the day in the classroom. Top of the list, at a cost of $100, is a day of getting to do classwork from Ms. Pollard’s couch in the room rather than sitting at their desk.

Cody earned reward bucks and saved until he had a whopping $300. Nothing on the list appealed to him particularly, so he decided to find out what would happen if he simply asked about the possibility of buying something else not on the list.

“I figured he’d ask for a Happy Meal, a milkshake or a drink from Sonic, something like that,” Ms. Pollard said.

However, Cody thought back to last year when there had been an option to have lunch with the principal, for $200. He considered asking if he could do that, but since he had $300, he decided to up his request.

“He asked, ‘What if I could be principal for the day?’” Ms. Pollard said. “He wanted to do the announcements and visit the classes and see what a principal does every day. He’s very smart and always looking for the next thing to do, the next challenge.”

Her response to Cody is they would ask and find out if it was possible. Principal Barney Pontious made it happen.

Tuesday Cody showed up in black pants, a black shirt and a red tie, ready to begin his job as principal.

As the day began, Cody was a little nervous, but as it went on, he grew more confident.

There were a few chunks of the day Cody had to return to class, like to do a reading test, but otherwise he spent the day as principal.

“He went without recess all day long. He meant serious business,” Ms. Pollard said. “He went to the rooms taking notes as if he was a real principal. He made a list of positive things happening in each classroom. He did lunch duty and he helped create announcements for the next day. He was real professional.”

“I think it was awesome,” Mr. Pontious said. “To be honest, I was glad it was a regular normal day. It turned out to be a great day. We visited 13 classrooms, and he wrote down notes from each class and even asked for extra time a few times to get his notes down. We went in the office and took that feedback from the visits and typed it up for all the teachers. I was impressed with his diligence. I think the next generation of leaders is in good shape if all the kids fit his mold.”

Some of Cody’s positive comments impressed the teachers.  Cody wrote of Mr. Medina’s class “They were good listeners and did a good job answering questions.”

For Mrs. Vaughn’s class, Cody said: “Your students were very good and serious about their work time,” and for Mrs. Waun’s class, he said, “Your students did really well on math and it looked like they were having a lot of fun.”

Mr. Pontious said Cody loved being principal for the day.

“It was just a good experience. He did a great job,” Mr. Pontious said.

Cody said he was happy that his request to be principal for the day had been fulfilled.

“It was really fun,” he said.

While he got to do many activities, his favorite part still was eating lunch with the principal.

“Now I have another kid saving up to be principal next,” Ms. Pollard said.

As for Cody, with more than another whole semester to go during which time he can earn and save up more reward bucks, he is considering his potential options after asking for something outside the box worked. He said he might save up to be principal for a day again. “Or maybe I could be P.E. teacher for the day,” Cody said. “That sounds really fun. And that shouldn’t cost as much because the P.E. teacher isn’t as (high up) as the principal.”