Inside Stories

InsideChelmsford: Sticky Situation for Harrington Principal

Harrington Elementary School students took turns applying strips of duct tape to Principal Rob Asselin in the gymnasium on Friday morning, Jan. 19. Taping him to the wall served as a fundraiser for the school community.

by Jennie Oemig

Chelmsford – For many schoolchildren, taping their principal to a wall is something they dream of doing.

On Friday, Jan. 19, Principal Rob Asselin made that dream a reality for Harrington Elementary School students.

“It’s really just a fun way to spend the morning on a Friday,” he said, explaining that the best part is seeing the students’ faces. “Seeing their excitement is the most rewarding aspect of the whole thing for me.”

In addition to the joy it brings the children, there is a purpose behind the event. Mr. Asselin explained that it serves as a fundraiser for Harrington families.

“We have such a heavily economically disadvantaged population with this community that we’re always looking for ways to raise money to support families as best we can so students can participate in all activities,” he said. “We’re fully inclusive and we want to be able to support that and take the burden financially, if we can, off families that may struggle.”

Mr. Asselin said the proceeds are used for a variety of things, from fourth grade dues to field trip expenses to enrichment activities.

Students, staff, faculty and even parents paid $1 for each foot of duct tape. And there was a lot of buzz in the halls at Harrington leading up to Friday.

“Experience-wise for the students … their connection to me and being able to do that to me, I think, is very rewarding for them,” he said. “It gets them excited and just motivates them. As far as bringing the students together for a great cause, I couldn’t think of a better way than sticking your principal to a wall.”

This wasn’t the first time Mr. Asselin has been taped to a wall. The fundraising activity was held once before, prior to the pandemic.

“The last time we did it, it was hugely successful,” he said. “It was a great turnout. I think we went through maybe 80 rolls of duct tape.”

Purposely dehydrating himself prior to the event, Mr. Asselin said it can start out a little rough since he has to hold himself to the wall.

“As the tape keeps coming on, I can relax a little and it will hold me,” he said, noting that stronger duct tape was purchased this time around. “The end result is, when it’s all done, being able to pull myself off the wall.”

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