Licking County News

Superintendent for a Day

First-grader gets glimpse of school chief's duties

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RYAN M.L. YOUNG/THISWEEKNEWS
West Elementary School first-grader Vinny Pizzuto turns on the sirens while being shown a police car by Pataskala police officer James Wiles Tuesday, March 18. Vinny won Licking Heights' Superintendent for the Day competition.

Dressed to the nines in a pin-striped suit and tie, West Elementary School first-grader Vinny Pizzuto absolutely loved being the Licking Heights School District's Superintendent for a Day Tuesday, March 18.

"It was awesome!" Pizzuto said.

"He looked better than I did," said Pataskala Mayor Mike Compton, who joined Vinny along with actual Superintendent Philip Wagner and firefighters from the West Licking Joint Fire District to tour the district buildings, see how a superintendent spends his day, and check out police cruisers and other emergency services equipment.

"He's a pretty sharp young man," Compton said, adding that as Vinny toured the schools and saw the upper grades, "his eyes were as big as plates. It was fun." Vinny also joined the school board for a meeting that evening.

Vinny was winner of the Licking Heights PTO's "Superintendent for a Day" fundraiser contest.

There were many other similar contests, such as "Principal for a Day," but Superintendent for a Day is the top prize. This was the second year for the contest.

"It's a lot of fun for me," Wagner said. He said so much of his job is tied up in administrative duties it is really enjoyable to be able spend a day with students.

"He's a wonderful young person -- very mature," Wagner said said of Pizzuto

He said had to regain control of the microphone from Vinny during the school board meeting. "I thought he was going to show me up," Wagner said. "I think he was ready to take over."

Wagner said the contest is "100 percent net" profit for the PTO, because there are no expenditures involved, other than time, which Wagner, Compton, and the firefighters were happy to donate.

"As long as it's helpful to the PTO, I imagine we'll keep doing it," Wagner said.

"It's a reminder of all we do and how it translates to a student. I really enjoyed spending time with him."

Pizzuto said his favorite part of the day was, "Lunch -- I was starving."

He said he also enjoyed his opportunity to be inside a police cruiser where he said he was in a pretend police chase with Compton. "He got away," Vinny said.

"I'm really glad we're still doing these kinds of things," Compton said.

He said in a time of budget cuts and diminished school extra-curricular activities, it's good to offer students these types of experiences.

Compton said the most amusing part of the day for his was when Vinny asked where his and Wagner's bodyguards were.

"I told him we weren't important enough for that," Compton said.

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