Young readers bring home the bacon, so principal puckers up
Published: April 11, 2014 09:58PM
Updated: April 11, 2014 09:59PM
Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune Guadalupe School principal Ernie Nix kisses a pig named "Babe" on Friday, April 11, 2014. The pig is held by Alex Stromberg from This is the Place Heritage Park. Nix kissed the pig because his students read more than 42,000 pages in the past three weeks and raised more than $8,000 for a playground at their new school, which will open this fall. The students' funds also drew a $5,000 matching donation.

Guadalupe School students just kept flipping — so Principal Ernie Nix had to start kissing.

Nix challenged the school’s 136 K-5 students to read 32,000 pages by Friday and to find sponsors to donate a nickel per page, raising money for a playground at the school’s new building.

The students read 42,354 pages by the deadline, raising $8,343, said spokeswoman Elysia Alvarado Yuen. With a $5,000 matching grant from donors, the school has raised $13,343, she said.

So on Friday, Nix puckered up and smooched a pig named Babe, provided by This Is The Place Heritage Park.

Guadalupe, which has helped the poor and non-English speakers since 1966, is building a 50,000-square-foot school at a new Salt Lake City location, 1385 N. 1200 West, next to the Rose Park Golf Course.

It has raised $8.5 million toward of a goal of slightly more than $9 million. The playground is estimated to cost $50,000, Yuen said.

The school’s enrollment is expected to double next year as it adds sixth grade and moves from 340 S. Goshen St. in Salt Lake City to the new building. Information about donating or applying is available at

The Guadalupe School offers five major programs for residents of west Salt Lake City, helping toddlers, elementary schoolchildren, parents with newborns and adults. All participants live at or below the poverty level; 94 percent are minorities; 64 percent are English-language learners; and 4 percent are homeless.