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LA PUENTE - As temperatures topped 100 degrees last week, Rorimer Elementary School Principal Audrey Hicks and assistant principal Marianne O'Quinn came up with an interesting plan to cool down.

Students pelted them with a combined 237 water balloons - a reward for the students, who have improved their state testing scores over the past two years.

"We are very, very proud of you," Hicks said, addressing the entire student body before becoming a human target. "You worked very hard students and teachers. And we did much better than the state thought we could."

According to Hicks, the La Puente school raised its Academic Performance Index score by 28 points, to 794 this past school year.

In addition, Rorimer also met the federal requirements for the Academic Yearly Performance subgroups, she said.

To motivate students to do better, the school's fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders were promised two water balloons to be thrown at their administrators if they improved on both their language arts and math scores.

Hicks said her goal was to build the students' self-esteem and self-motivation.

On Tuesday - four students at a time - the children stepped behind a bench on the basketball courts with their water balloons in hand.

With their administrators standing only a few feet away, the kids awaited another teacher's command to "ready, aim, throw!"

Photo Gallery

Rorimer Students Bombard Principal
(SGVN/Staff photos by Leo Jarzomb)

The younger students tossed their water-filled balloons lightly. Most of them bounced off Hicks and O'Quinn and exploded on the ground.

But as the older children stepped up to the plate, the scenario changed. Some of them threw as hard as they could.

By the end, Hicks and O'Quinn - both wearing red "Property of Rorimer" T-shirts and wearing baseball catcher's masks - were drenched.

"It's kind of fun," said Karina Figuroa, a fourth-grade student who improved her math testing score. "But they're lucky because they get the cold water and we don't."

Hicks is no stranger to using creative tactics to motivate her students.

Last year, she allowed students to throw pies at her as part of a reading challenge.

"I think it's about memory- building and team-building," said Tami Siwieck, who teaches fifth grade at Rorimer. "They may not remember the day they learned fractions, or the day they learned all 50 states, but they'll remember when they got to throw water balloons at their principal."

maritza.velazquez@sgvn.com

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