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A rooftop celebration

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On a chilly October night, Temple Macdonald, principal of St. John the Evangelist CatholicSchool in Warrenton, popped open his tent for an overnight stay on the roof of the school.

Macdonald promised the students if the school raised $25,000 in their annual Color Run, he would spend the night up there. The students gladly accepted his challenge and exceeded the goal.

The school raised nearly $26,000 to update the technology lab. The school beat its previous record by more than $5,000, allowing for additional technology upgrades.

“I am happy to make a small sacrifice by sleeping on the roof in order to thank you for this record-breaking accomplishment,” Macdonald told students and parents. “Your continued support is what gives our school the resources and support we need, opening the doors for future learners.”

In the evening, parents and students drove by and waved goodnight to Macdonald, who accepted hot chocolate from a first grader who wanted to make sure he wasn’t cold as temperatures dipped into the 40s.

In the morning, Macdonald greeted parents and students from his perch atop the school. The school mascot, an eagle, was also on hand to ensure no one missed the amusing sight. Kindergarteners giggled at the sight of their principal in his pajamas. “I think he has robots on his pants,” chuckled one student.

Sleeping on the roof is just one example of how Macdonald shows his dedication to the school. He knows the name of each student and won’t pass them without saying hello. At drop-off, he gives out fist bumps as each child walks through the doors.

Macdonald wasn’t the first principal at St. John to sleep on the roof. In 2012, then Principal Art Fairweather camped on top of the school after students raised more than $20,000 for the annual run, $5,000 above their initial goal. Fairweather stopped by to surprise Macdonald during morning carpool to show his support. 

As far as sleep, Macdonald said he got a few hours in before coming down, changing out of his pajamas and preparing for weekly Mass. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021