By Gary Collins
Pine Bluffs Post 

Hair today, gone tomorrow


Gary Collins/Pine Bluffs Post

Taylor McCollum, foreground, goes to work on the beard of Pine Bluffs Elementary teacher Todd Thompson (seated). Looking on are Thompson's fifth grade students, from left, Nathan Paice, Sharon Sanchez, Morgan DeManigold, Jasmin Bacerra, in front of Maddie Brown who has the "18" on her shirt, Aliana Schultz, Kelsie Bymer, Rachael Macy, and Emily Hass. Kneeling to McCollum's right is Christine Michiaels.

A happy wife at home and happy children in the classroom were the results of a promise kept by Todd Thompson of Pine Bluffs Elementary School (PBES).

The promise was kept at the PBES Thursday assembly in the Theater room of the school when five of Thompson's students took clippers to his beard. Thomson had promised his fifth-graders that if they really tried and gave there best efforts on the Proficiency Assessments for Wyoming Students (PAWS) test, they could shave off his beard.

"I bet the kids to give me their best efforts on the PAWS test, which is our state assessment. In exchange, I'm going to let them shave my beard off," Thompson said. "My wife's been complaining so I thought, 'What the heck,' give those kids some incentive."

The fifth-graders had been taking their PAWS tests two hours every morning for the past three weeks. They are given three tests each in reading and math.

"You don't want to test on a Monday, so we test Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, but the fifth-graders are gone every Wednesday. We go to Cheyenne for this program, Starbase, so they give us a three week window to do our testing," Thompson said. "Out of my 23 kids I've got in fifth grade, I selected four or five kids that I felt really did a good job of taking their time, doing their best work. So I'm going to let them cut me up."

The five students chosen by Thompson each had a different response to taking clippers to their teacher.

Denton Holmes stated that it was, "Fun!"

"Yeah, it was fun," echoed Taylor McCollum

Alex Cuddihy agreed that the activity was indeed enjoyable. Asked by Thompson what his advice was for the fourth graders who will be taking the PAWS test next year, Cuddihy did not hesitate.

"Take your time and don't worry about others," Cuddihy said.

Holmes also had advice for those taking the test next year.

"Taking the PAWS test? Work really hard, slowly, and take your time," Holmes said.

Jasmin Garcia had a different take on shaving Thompson's beard.

"I thought it was kind of weird," Garcia said.

While Audrey Shutts had fun, she had hoped for something more. She had wanted to get Thompson to promise to put whip cream on where his beard and mustache were and put a cherry on top.

"That's what she's been wanting to do, make me into an ice cream sundae. Apparently, she thinks I look like Santa Claus with my beard," Thompson said.

While Thompson's promise was made to encourage effort and hard work amongst his students, actual results for the PAWS test will not be available for some time.


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