By Bill Cantwell
---- — HAVERHILL — To these kids, it was worth the effort.
A while back, leaders of St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish issued a challenge to students there.
If they collected $100 or more in a two-week period for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, school Principal Carol Simone would kiss a pig.
That's right — a pig.
The kids came through, and so did Simone.
Students collected $909 in their homeroom classes in memory of the late Rev. Dennis Nason, pastor of All Saints Parish.
Because the kids surpassed their goal, Simone puckered up during a recent school assembly and smooched with a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Kim. The pig is owned by sixth-grade teacher Brittany Fitzgerald, who brought the animal into the school assembly on a leash.
Simone grimaced as she kissed Kim. They were in fashion harmony, Kim decked out in a big green bow for St. Patrick's Day and Simone wearing a scarf that sported Irish clovers.
There was plenty of other fun at the assembly, with the pig getting at least one other kiss. That came from first-grade teacher Eileen Silva.
The kisses brought a mix of cheers and groans from the astonished students.
The pig also performed tricks for the students, including marching through a large ring.
The school chose the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Pennies for Patients program in memory of Nason. He was the pastor of All Saints Parish for a decade before he died of cancer.
Nason was a fixture at the school, a favorite visitor of students and staff.
All Saints Parish is the former St. Joseph Church on Broadway, just outside Lafayette Square. The school is just down the hill from the church.