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Pony Up For FFA Week Fun
Escalon High School Assistant Principal Talmage Allen was the lucky winner, enough money raised by students in honor of FFA Week to have him kiss the miniature horse brought in during lunchtime festivities on Friday. - photo by Marg Jackson/The Times

He didn’t really mind it, considering it was for a good cause.

Escalon High School assistant principal Talmage Allen got to pucker up for the pony on Friday. Actually, it was a miniature horse, brought in by student Alexandra Rocha as the culmination of FFA Week activities at the school.

Donations were collected in jars and cans around the campus for Heifer Project International, and, depending on the amount of money collected, that was the teacher or administrator who had to kiss the ‘mystery farm animal.’

In the past, a pig has been used the bulk of the time, although a goat was also brought in one year. This year, it wasn’t determined until the 11th hour what animal would be used, with Rocha bringing in the miniature pony. She recently got the animal from a rescue organization.

Allen approached the task with a small crowd of onlookers cheering him on, enjoying watching him plant a couple of kisses on the broad forehead of the miniature pony. He was warned not to go for the lips, as the animal was known to be a little nippy.

Though the horse arrived on the campus with no name, it left as ‘CC’ – named for its caramel and cream coloring. And it enjoyed the attention of the crowd after Allen had taken care of his share of the festivities.

The cost to have Allen kiss the animal was set at $175 and a total of $193.23 was raised through the collection, said Escalon FFA vice president Caterina Grossi.

A senior, Grossi said she has enjoyed being a part of the FFA organization.

“You get to learn new leadership skills and about agriculture in general,” she said, noting that she hopes to pursue a career in ag communication or ag education.

The week also included a Teacher Luncheon hosted at the ag department on Tuesday and a student appreciation day with special treats on Wednesday, culminating with the kiss on the quad at lunchtime on Friday.

“We like to just focus on this one thing, a charitable cause that makes sense for us,” ag teacher and FFA advisor Jennifer Terpstra explained of raising money for Heifer Project International during FFA Week. “We try to keep it simple.”

The money will help purchase farm animals for villages in third world countries.