Pa. principal goes bobbing for a good cause

April 26, 2007|by JENNIFER FITCH

MERCERSBURG, Pa. - The traditional image of a school principal as a finger-wagging, stern-faced disciplinarian is being replaced one toy at a time in the Tuscarora School District.

James Buchanan Middle School Principal Charles Rahauser's likeness as a bobblehead doll immortalizes him with an enthusiastic thumbs up and a "JBMS proud" mint in his other hand.

"He's an icon here," seventh-grade math teacher Tim Reed said.

Rahauser, who has been in the district for about 20 years, agreed to become a collectible with the hope that it could yield upwards of $4,000 for the Jake Gittlen Cancer Research Institute at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center.

The middle school has sold more than 200 tickets for the May 8 Hagerstown Suns game, where the first 800 people through the gate will receive the Rahauser bobblehead.


Reed is attempting to convince a slightly embarrassed Rahauser to autograph dolls at the gate.

Passing through the gate many times himself over the years, Reed, an avid Suns fan, saw a team invitation to feature educators as dolls and talked Rahauser into it.

"We were looking for a way to have school spirit and raise some money for charity," Reed said.

The process involved having Rahauser pose for about 40 photographs from various angles.

"I can see now, with all the features they have, why they needed so many pictures," Reed said.

Rahauser met Warren Gittlen (Jake's son) at a golf tournament several years ago, and since then, the Hershey center has hosted 100 JBMS eighth-graders annually for tours and discussions with doctors.

Rahauser has been impressed by the students' response to that experience, noting they raised $2,700 for the center in the 2005-06 school year.

"We have a lot of kids who are very gracious with their intentions to give to cancer research," Rahauser said. "The kids take this to heart."

Man and toy have been sharing the principal's office for more than two weeks. The experience has meant some ribbing for Rahauser, especially with Reed claiming that the doll's hair was darkened from an original version.

"I feel uncomfortable about the bobblehead thing, but knowing it's for a good cause ... it's a good thing," Rahauser said.

The May 8 Hagerstown Suns game against the West Virginia Power begins at 6:35 p.m. Gates open an hour before the game.

For $5 discount tickets, call James Buchanan Middle School at 717-328-5221.

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