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At Stagg, tale of the tape is a charitable one

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Updated: March 11, 2014 6:15AM



Duct tape has been used to make or repair objects such as ... just about anything.

Stagg High School students have discovered that it can even help rebuild the lives of tornado victims in downstate Washington. All they had to do was tape a few teachers to the wall in the commons area Friday during lunchtime at the Palos Hills school.

Members of the school’s social action club were looking for a fun way to raise money for the cause once they learned the town was denied federal aid.

Eager to raise a lot of money in a short time, one student proposed the tape idea — and it quickly stuck.

“We Googled it to see what it was all about. The kids love it,” club co-sponsor Mary Ogarek said. “It’s such a new idea, it’s really drawing the kids in.”

Students and staff took a few minutes out of their lunch period and bought a yard of tape for a buck or a roll for $15 and stuck it to Principal Eric Olsen, history teacher Jennifer Baniewicz or coach Nick Jelcic.

Armed with blue duct tape and orange gaffer’s tape — school colors — students covered the three piece by piece until only their heads and feet were visible. As an added measure, Olsen’s ankles were taped together, too.

“It’s a little tight, a little uncomfortable, but the kids are really, really enjoying it,” said Olsen, who took a lot of good-natured heckling from his staff.

As he slapped another piece of orange tape onto his principal, Hammam Mohamed said he wanted to do it “to help people in Washington and to get some revenge on this guy.”

“Anything to help the boss,” said Cathy Miller, of the computer services staff. “He’s a great principal. He’s got a good heart.”

Jelcic said it was “more comfortable than I thought.” He volunteered because he knew it was for a good cause and “I figured a lot of kids would like to see me stuck,” he said.

Many teachers and staff also were eager to kick out the chairs the three were standing on, which was done to show the tape actually was holding them to the wall.

Baniewicz — much smaller than her male colleagues — was quickly left hanging.

“It’s a nice way for kids to understand that we have to help other people,” she said.

Students also came to her rescue when the event ended a couple of hours later and cut her away from the wall.

“I would do it again,” she said.

Social action club members Andre Kohn and Karoline Harkabuz said it was such a new idea they had no idea what to expect, but their goal was to raise $500 for the tornado victims. They raised $524.

“The money will go directly to the bank in Washington, so the people will get it,” Kohn said.

They also planned to hold a bake sale and raffle at the Friday night basketball game to raise additional funds.

The goal of their club is to get students and the community to interact and benefit society, Harkabuz said.

And that they did. Even those who didn’t buy a piece of tape gathered around to enjoy the fun.

“Are you bored yet?” one student said to the teachers.

“Nah, they’re just hanging around,” another student answered.

“It’s a good fundraiser,” junior Claire Heneghan said after she stuck it to the coach. “It’s a lot of fun.”

Olsen was able to free himself from the wall, but after more than two hours, he admitted he was “a little stiff” from not moving.

“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “The social action club does a great job. They come up with neat ideas to get the kids involved that are a lot of fun.”



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