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Tart-Tossing Pupils Cream Their Principal


Kamala Elementary School Principal Virginia Johnson came to school Tuesday fully expecting to end up with pie on her face. And a little cream.

A group of smiling, laughing students helped Johnson preview the messiest event at the upcoming California Strawberry Festival: the strawberry pie toss.

The "Mini Strawberry Tart Toss" is just a few years younger than the 15-year-old festival, which begins May 16.

In a matter of minutes, Kamala students had plastered their principal with half a dozen strawberry tarts.

Juan Gonzales, 10, was so excited that he asked, "Do we get a turn again?" even before he had thrown his first, and final, pie.

Jimmy Beas and Crystal Chavez, both 9, and Andy Gomez, 8, managed to land solid pie throws on their favorite principal. Daniel Adams, 9, who wore a John Elway jersey, also hit the target.

But Johnson was not the only target.

Paul Regina, public relations director for the Pacific Suns baseball team, also braved the flurry of strawberry and cream. Members of the minor league team, which opens its season in Oxnard next month, have attended several events at Kamala in recent months. In fact, three Suns players coached Kamala students on the fine points of pie throwing at Tuesday's event.

Fourth-grade teacher Pamela Yeagley said that the students were excited by the chance to meet the Suns again. But, she said with a grin, "It was the principal that really got to them."

Johnson is no stranger to messy events, though. In her previous job as an educator in San Diego, Johnson took part in an ice-cream-eating contest that left her nose raw and her face sticky.

"I think I prefer strawberry pies to ice cream," she said while cleaning pie pieces from her forehead.

Asked whether she would be a pie target next year, Johnson smiled. "We'll see," she said. "Maybe next year we'll get the assistant principal."

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