Those who have ever wondered what crickets taste like can ask Los Altos Christian Schools Principal Susan Goff. Or fourth-grade teacher Marilyn Bryant. Or fifth-grade teacher Abby Eldridge.
The three educators recently participated in a cricket-eating contest as a celebration for elementary students, who raised more than $2,400 in the Pennies for Patients fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
“I told them I would do something crazy if they made $1,000,” Goff said. “I was thinking spray-painting my hair another color for a day.”
The fundraising began with K-5 students bringing change from home. Then, 11-year-old Jasmine Cadeddu, while brainstorming with her mother, came up with the idea of selling fruit from their citrus trees.
“At carpool, we sold lemons for 25 cents each and ruby grapefruits for 75 cents each,” Jasmine said.
Her two-day sale netted $87.81. Jasmine’s idea sparked another, a jewelry sale, and the race was on. Soon fourth- and fifth-graders were approaching the office asking for approval for lemonade and bake sales.
The student council, led by adviser and fifth-grade teacher Lizette Hibbert, helped Goff come up with a way to celebrate their fundraising accomplishment. Student councilmember Erin Su proposed a grasshopper-eating contest, with fellow councilmembers enthusiastically supporting the idea of teachers eating bugs.
Goff, Eldridge and Bryant recently stood on the stage at the close of chapel, each behind a podium. Each had two cups, one filled with 12 chocolate-covered crickets and the other with water. The contest – kept secret even from fellow teachers – was announced. Loud “ews” reverberated in the chapel. The goal? To eat their crickets the fastest.
Eldridge won the competition, downing the insects in less than 10 seconds. She began eating them one by one, and then, “I took the whole cup, bottoms up,” followed by lots of water, she said. She added that she volunteered for the contest “because my kids worked so hard, I wanted to do something fun for them.”
Asked later about the cricket-eating contest, fifth-grader Grace Hill said, “That was cool, but I wouldn’t do it.”
Fellow student Philip Culbertson, standing nearby, piped up, “I wish we tried crickets.”
The contest generated amusing stories on campus. While on recess duty recently, Bryant told of a fellow teacher giving her a bag (not a clear one, she noted), for the cricket contest “just in case.” Computer teacher Nico Roundy, overhearing the conversation, popped his head in to say, “They should have been live.”
Locating the crickets became a team effort, “because we love our principal,” said administrative assistant Elizabeth Parker with a smile. “It became a quest. Look up ‘edible insects’ – you won’t want to eat for a while.”
They settled on locally sourced bugs from Don Bugito.
The school has partnered with the Leukemia Society for a number of years. The fourth- and fifth-graders, winners of the fundraising contest, have pizza parties to look forward to, compliments of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. And contest participants have learned two methods for getting the salty cricket taste out of your mouth – popcorn and bananas.