“It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No … that’s our principal.”
Those could have been the thoughts of Baker Elementary parents last Thursday morning. They were waiting below as Principal Garry Gorman skydived toward them.
His students would see the promised jump the next morning on video. Gorman had vowed to skydive if the Prosper ISD school exceeded its $20,000 fundraising goal in the annual Boosterthon program.
Students got donation pledges from all 50 states, another caveat for the big jump. Perhaps unbeknownst to his young darers, Gorman actually skydived for the first time in January for his son’s 18th birthday.
“This was a million times better,” Gorman noted, explaining how the Whitewright site’s crew was more thorough and informative than at his first jump.
And this time he landed knowing his campus was about $30,000 richer.
He strolled into the gym at Baker, which is in northern McKinney, right as the video ended. He was still wearing a parachute.
“They went crazy,” Gorman said of the elementary students.
Some of the older students have seen their principal follow through on an off-the-wall promise. He makes one every year to spur a certain amount of Boosterthon donations.
He’s eaten crickets, been duct-taped to the wall – always thinking what he can do to “take it to the next level,” he said.
Boosterthon is a character-, health- and leadership-building program that fosters easy fundraising at mostly elementary campuses across the U.S. North Texas is home to 125 of the roughly 1,900 schools that host Boosterthon fun runs and other initiatives each year.
David Jones, Boosterthon’s general manager for the D-FW area, started working with Gorman on the annual program several years ago. Elsewhere he’s seen teachers and administrators ride longhorns into school, get taped to the flag pole and even perform an on-campus concert dressed like rock stars – all, like Gorman, as motivators.
“They’re educators – they’re creative,” Jones said.
One administrator went up in a hot-air balloon as reward for her students hitting their fundraising goal. Those were never-before-seen heights – until Gorman’s jump.
“This is a first,” said Jones, who actually joined Gorman on the leap. Each jumped tandem with an instructor.
Baker Elementary PTO members picked up the daring duo from the school Thursday morning and drove them to Whitewright so they could fulfill Gorman’s promise.
The school will use its Boosterthon profits to enhance students’ on-campus literacy resources and teachers’ educational tools.
Gorman admitted skydiving had already been “one of those bucket-list items,” and this year’s Boosterthon had a superhero – “Flying in the Sky” – theme.
So, what about next year?
“I have no idea what I’m going to do,” Gorman said.