Sanborn fossilizes principal

OSSINEKE – Sanborn elementary students were rewarded for reading 66,276 pages in March with a chance to “fossilize” Principal Jean Kowalski. Classrooms kept track of individual pages read and exceeded their goal of 60,000 pages for the entire school.

Students were allowed different amounts of fossil paste for the individual number of pages they each read, ranging from cups to gallons worth of the sticky sludge. The fossil paste was a mixture of oatmeal, wallpaper paste, flour, corn starch, wheat paste, and water, cooked up by the staff at Sanborn. Hilary Robinette, Kristin Ciupka, Niki Kalisch and Christine O’Neil came up with the recipe for the paste by using the ingredients available around the school.

Each class, starting with the least amount of pages read, took turns pouring the mixture into a white barrel on Kowalski, who was wearing waders for the event, while their schoolmates cheered them on, chanting “fossil, fossil” over and over.

As the classes and page amounts progressed, the level of fossil mix steadily rose in the barrel, covering Kowalski to her waist.

“What’s in this stuff?” she asked. “It really stinks”

There were 57 cups, 39 pints, 25 quarts, and 24 gallons of fossil mix totaling to approximately 40 gallons of the sludge used to fossilize Kowalski.

Students were laughing and cheering each other on as they splashed the mix into the barrel all over their principal.

“I think I’m going to need a shower,” Kowalski said after the whole school had finished pouring all of their paste on her. “Anything for reading.”

Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.