Why is This School Principal Sleeping on the Roof?
His school met a lofty goal, so David Pontzious is sleeping with the owls.
As the leader of North Hill Elementary School, Principal David Pontzious challenges his students and staff every day.
But a recent schoolwide challenge was a little different — and it will result in some unlikely sleeping arrangements for Pontzious tonight.
Pontzious will sleep all night tonight on the roof of the Rochester school, he said in a media advisory released by the school district.
A few weeks ago, he challenged the school community – whose mascot is the owl – to raise $20,000 in the school's annual "Hoot Scoot" PTA-sponsored event. If the school met its goal, he promised to sleep on the roof.
"We set that goal, and it was a pretty big goal — I never really imagined we would reach it," said Pontzious, who came to North Hill at the beginning of the school year from Royal Oak.
The Hoot Scoot invites students to run around a track at the school and earn pledged money for the number of laps run. This year, students raised almost $21,000.
"That's an enormous amount of money for a school to raise for one event," he said. "I'm overwhelmed by the support of the families."
PTA President Jen Petrotta said the event is the foundational base for the PTA's entire budget and its success enables the school to not have to participate in other schoolwide fundraising campaigns — like selling candy bars or wrapping paper, she said.
"Every year we've done really well, but this year I think people were extra generous, in part because of this incentive," she said.
And about that incentive: Pontzious said he will take a tent, air mattress and sleeping bag up to the roof tonight around 8 p.m., after the school's PTA meeting.
He plans to stay up there until about 4 a.m., when he has to get home to watch his own kids in the morning, as his wife leaves early for work.
"In the past, principals have done some fun things — a pie in the face, for instance," said Petrotta.
"But this year, it's a new principal, and he decided to do something really crazy."
Do you have photos of the Hoot Scoot? Upload them here.