"Are you showing goats this year or have you decided to do something else this year in 4-H?" asked James Cole Elementary Principal, Mike Pinto as he sits in a chair in the school's lobby surrounded by fourth and fifth grade students who were eating biscuits and gravy from their cafeteria trays or munching peanut butter sandwiches from their lunch boxes. Each month students have a chance to sit down and eat lunch with the principal. This is an informal event with folding tables covered with green table cloths along with folding chairs arranged in a U-shape in the lobby. Each student at James Cole Elementary School has the chance to eat lunch at least once each school year with their principal. Teachers usually divide their classes into months and when the day arrives, some get to come and chat and eat. The topics of conversation range from what events students will be taking in 4-H this summer, to excitement about an upcoming holiday or birthday, and can include chances to talk about their weekends, their pets, and their favorite movies, YouTube personalities, and toys.
Each student who joins Mr. Pinto receives a magic pencil with the words, "I had lunch with the principal" written on it. These 'Magic" pencils are actually mood pencils which change colors based on difference in temperature between the pencil and the child's hand (Hint: Put your pencil in the refrigerator or freezer for five minutes when you get it home and it will turn very quickly with your touch). Lunch with the Principal is a fun part of the culture of the school.Even though students often see their principal throughout the day and at lunches, this chance to feel special and to eat in the lobby with others is something that many look forward to when their name is called.