Dakota Ridge takes unique approach in raising money for winter dance

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By Deborah Swearingen

The whipped cream was nearly frozen, but that certainly didn’t chill the excitement of those gathered outside of Dakota Ridge High School after school on Feb. 1.


“This is like a shaving cream fight. Everyone’s so excited,” said junior Makenna Dickey as students and faculty began to gather in front of the school.

With bright yellow caution tape and tarps, the scene looked a bit like a crime scene. In actuality, however, it was Pie-A-Teacher, an event put on by the school’s student government to help raise money for the upcoming winter dance that for the first time will be held offsite. It chose Chatfield Farms as the location.

Students donated money to jars designated for various Dakota Ridge teachers. At the end of the week, the three teachers with the most money received an incredible prize — a pie tin of whipped cream to the face.

Student government representative Jonathan Pazen, a sophomore, hoped the event would “just kind of raise excitement” at the school. Of all three participating teachers, Pazen was equally excited to see each covered in whipped cream.

“I really want to see all of these teachers get pied. I think it’s going to be really fun for all the students, too, and definitely the faculty as well,” he said.

Dickey and Emma Oryshchyn, a sophomore, had a front-row seat to the action, primarily because each planned to take a video of the event — one in slow motion and another in real time.

When the first teacher made it outside, a chant quickly ensued. “MR. FORD! MR. FORD!” the crowd yelled in unison.

Mr. Ford, a.k.a. Dakota Ridge band and orchestra teacher Dylan Ford, came prepared. Although the students provided a trash bag and goggles for protection, Ford brought an extra trash bag to protect his shoes. He also took off his sweater.

As soon as the whipped cream smashed into his face, Ford realized it was all but fully frozen. Supporting his students felt great, “but it’s cold,” Ford noted when all was said and done.

In addition to Ford, science teachers Andrew Gysin and Carl Christianssen also participated in the Pie-A-Teacher event, which raised more than $300 for the winter dance.

Christianssen brought his own goggles from the science lab for protection and warned the student who would soon be pressing whipped cream into his face that she could be facing a “10 percent reduction on the next test.”