The vice-principal at Sheshatshiu Innu School is subjecting himself to a prank a month to get attendance numbers up — and it seems to be working.
So far, students have turned the diehard Habs fan into a Leafs lover, dyed his hair orange and, most recently, covered him in ice cream toppings.
"My eyebrows, it feels like they're stuck together," Greg Quilty told CBC's Labrador Morning after removing his safety goggles and garbage bag overshirt.
"It's really fun, really entertaining," said Mikau Andrew, a Grade 8 student who watched two classmates pile on the chocolate sauce and cherries.
"I feel like I should go to school more — maybe like I could go up and do something on him."
Nothing ventured, nothing gained
It's all part of the school's ploy to coax more junior high and high school students into going to class.
If, in a month, a student misses fewer than two days, their name goes into a draw.
One or two names are chosen, and those students get to pull a pre-arranged prank.
For the first two months, just junior high and high school kids were invited to the assembly to watch.
This last go-around, the whole school came.
"Well, I've been here at the school for nine years, since the school opened, and attendance has always been an issue," said Quilty.
"I decided, let's give it a shot. At the very least it can't do any harm — only to me."
Creating school spirit
The attendance program is the brainchild of the school's First Nation student success co-ordinator, Alicia Jackman, who's tasked with implementing literacy and numeracy programs, and improving academic results.
"I thought maybe we could motivate students with an attendance program while creating school spirit at the same time," she said, volunteering the VP for the sticky work.
She said, so far, she's noticed a "slow increase" from about 105 attending regularly one month to around 130 the next.
"We're seeing a lot of students just generally excited about it," she said.
"It's really nice to see specific students try really hard and then finally get it."
Primary and elementary grades have a different incentive — a lunchtime party where students with good attendance are invited to make a craft or get a treat.
Last month's get-together was a decorate-your-own ice cream sundae social.