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Students' best efforts make a stuntman out of their principal

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Matt Geha, principal, Springfield Middle School

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You might remember how Matt Geha topped off a great educational year in 2006 with gallons of chocolate syrup, ketchup, and mayo dumped, poured, squirted, and oozed on him as hundreds of students in Springfield Middle School's bleachers stomped their feet.

It was his way of saying thanks to the students for working hard and doing well in the Ohio proficiency tests.

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Brionna Caudill, 8, left, and her brother Logan, 3, check out the mattress Matt Geha used in his night on the school bus.

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The middle school principal considers 2007 another terrific year, educationally speaking, and last week had another treat for his students: He spent the night on a school bus parked outside the school in Holland.

It all went pretty well, except for the fact that he got no sleep, subjected as he was to the roar of low-flying jetliners on approach to Toledo Express Airport.

He did have plenty of company. Crews from television channels 11,13, 24, and 36 showed up, as did plenty of parents and children. All ate grilled hot dogs.

"I tried to sleep. I really did. But the school bus was not that comfortable. And those airplanes sounded as if they were

right above me," he recounted the following morning.

Mr. Geha, 34, said he performs his stunts to encourage his students to take the proficiency tests seriously. "I try to come up with incentives," he explained. "The stunts are a joke but they have a serious underlying purpose."

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Prinicpal Geha poses with some of the teachers and the students on the evening of his sleepover in the yellow school bus.

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Something must be working.

The school's proficiency test scores are above the state average, he said, and last year they were the highest ever.

Mr. Geha was an All-America cross country runner at Sienna Heights College in Adrian and a three-time All-State runner at Sylvania Southview High School.

He said running taught him the importance of setting goals, something he tries to inculcate in his students.

"Improvements are a goal we have here," he explained in his school office. "I like to feel that my stunts give them an outlet for their stress and energy and make them feel appreciated for what they have done."

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