Duncombe Elementary principal camps out

Flaherty said he would sleep outside school if fundraising goal was met

Anyone passing by Duncombe Elementary School late Wednesday night may have noticed a tent on the premises.

Ryan Flaherty, the school’s principal, spent the night in that tent to make good on a deal he made with his students. He told the students weeks ago that if they exceeded a fundraising goal, he would sleep outside the school for one night.

The fundraiser, called Dollars for Dodgers, was a partnership between the school and the Fort Dodge Community Schools Foundation to help pay for Leader In Me curriculum materials. According to Flaherty, Leader In Me teaches leadership skills and characteristics.

“We see a lot of benefits to the program in our school,” he said.

The initial goal was for the students to raise $1,000. Then Flaherty set what he called a “bonus goal” of $1,500. If that goal was reached, he pledged to sleep outside the school.

After all the receipts were totaled, the students had raised about $1,800.

“We cleared our school goal and our bonus goal,” Flaherty said.

Since the goals were reached, he had to pay up by camping out.

His original plan was to sleep on the roof. However, the school district’s insurance carrier did not like that idea at all, so Flaherty pitched a tent on the grass. He said he’s not an avid camper, but he does own a sleeping bag and a tent.

This was not the first time Flaherty did something a little out of the ordinary to help motivate his students.

In April 2021, he kissed a pig after students exceeded their goal in a Miles of Pennies fundraiser.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper? *

Starting at $2.99/week.

Subscribe Today