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Young readers bring home the bacon, so principal puckers up
First Published Apr 11 2014 03:46 pm • Last Updated Apr 11 2014 09:59 pm

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.

At a glance

History of The Guadalupe Center

In 1966, Our Lady of Guadalupe parish, with leadership from Father Jerald Merrill, founded The Guadalupe Center, which began as a gathering place for the city’s Latino community and evolved into educational programs.

The La Morena Cafe opened at the Guadalupe Center, and the proceeds helped fund the Adult Education Program, which provided English as a Second Language instruction to immigrants and refugees.

In 1970, the center added a school, and in 1992, officials expanded by adding an Early Learning Center Preschool program.

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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 www.guadalupeschoolslc.org.

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.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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