With the theme from "Love Story" playing in the background and the Eiffel Tower as a backdrop, it was the perfect setting for a romantic first kiss.
But Edgewood Elementary School teacher Rochelle Seigfreid cringed as she neared the lips of Crosby, a gecko lizard she won the opportunity to kiss after her name was drawn by students during a Tuesday afternoon assembly. A few students followed her, bravely planting a kiss on the probably befuddled gecko.
Then, surprisingly, Seigfreid returned for a second kiss.
Kissing the gecko was only a part of the "Kiss the Gecko" assembly where Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program students Avery Matta, Elizabeth Alfieri, Maggie Scifo and Veronica Graham presented their project that included a video about saving the South American rainforest. They told students that 45 acres of rainforest are destroyed every minute. The four girls also noted that many plants and animals will be lost forever if the destruction continues.
A second part of the video included two boys—Keller Dorgan and Connor Fitzgerald—rapping about the rainforest. And then, student Stefan Stratimirovic presented Crosby, his pet gecko, as the lucky kiss recipient.
The project also included several other GATE students in third, fourth and fifth grades, according to school technology coach Martin Sharp.
GATE teacher Karen Schollaert said the project developed as the students study an environmental theme during this year's gifted and talented education classes.
As part of the girls' project, the school held a donation drive for a week to collect money for the World Rainforest Fund, which protects the Brazilian rainforest and helps the indigenous people preserve it. During that time, the students raised $267.32 for the cause.