Principal takes on nature to motivate students - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Principal takes on nature to motivate students


A North Georgia principal has been wrestling with more than just test scores.

For the past couple years Jeff Sikes has been offering his students incentive for performing well on standardized tests. Last year he ended up skydiving. This year he fulfilled a promise of a more beastly nature.

"They did very well this year in their state tests and even better this year than last year," says Sikes. "As a result I did wrestle an eight foot, 200 pound alligator."

He had proper training, of course, courtesy of the staff at Gatorland in Orlando. The kids got to watch their leader go up against the reptile on video and Gatorland even came to Chickamauga Thursday to congratulate Sikes on his successful bout.

"How many fingers you got?" Gatorland's Tim Williams asks Sikes.

"Ten," Sikes replies.

"Ten," Williams repeats. "That's a good job."

The kids also learned about gators and a few other creatures.

"Down in Florida, especially, we got a lot of alligators," says Williams. "We have about two and a half million in the wild."

Sikes posed the challenge to his students not only hoping they would shoot for higher scores but hoping they'd learn a life lesson.

"The purpose of the events is for my students to try their best and motivate my students to do their best," explains Skies. "But also to show the students that if you set your mind to it and you achieve a goal you do get rewarded."

They had fun along the way, too, excited to see their principal take on the gator. Sikes was more than happy to keep his end of the bargain.

"I'm very pleased on how well you did on your state tests and good job!" Sikes tells the youngsters. "You deserve it."

Sikes went on to say that if his students successfully meet his challenge next year he may have himself shot out of a cannon, like at the circus, as the entertaining reward. It's something he's always wanted to do.

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