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Photo: Has a pig ever been so loved?

Melinda Reaney, first-grade teacher at San Gabriel Elementary in Atascadero, kisses Sylvester the pig as part of a fundraising effort for the school. She later said, "The things we do for these kids ..."
Melinda Reaney, first-grade teacher at San Gabriel Elementary in Atascadero, kisses Sylvester the pig as part of a fundraising effort for the school. She later said, "The things we do for these kids ..." The Tribune

First-grade teacher Melinda Reaney puckers up for Sylvester the pig Friday afternoon in front of a cheering crowd at San Gabriel Elementary School in Atascadero.

The porcine smooch fest, which included 10 teachers and Principal Chris Balogh, was a reward for the students of San Gabriel Elementary School, who raised more than $32,000 for their school this spring with a soccer-themed fundraiser called Kick-A-Thon.

Students got pledges based on how fast they could kick a soccer ball, Parent Teacher Association member Robert Reichek said.

Their earnings — $32,368.82 in total — will fund field trips, arts teachers, school supplies and other programs, he said. “In this economy, this is a wonder,” said Reichek, father of three first-graders at San Gabriel. “It’s very, very uplifting. … The support we got from the parents and the community was outstanding.”

A few teachers and staff members lined up Friday to kiss the pig.

— Sarah Linn

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