"It kind of made me want to throw up. But it was pretty awesome." That from a 10-year-old student at Clements/Parsons Elementary School who was marveling over what her teachers in Copperas Cove, Texas, did last Thursday. Namely, they fulfilled a bet: If their fourth- and fifth-grade students bested the school goals set for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness tests, the teachers would do "gross but awesome" things, reports the Killeen Daily Herald. The STAAR tests are tough and important: Texas kids in grades 5 and 8 can't move on to the next grade unless they pass them, reports KLTV (they have three chances to do so; there's an appeals process if they don't manage to do that). The Clements/Parsons kids did well, so a number of teachers stepped up to the plate.
A guinea pig was kissed, as was a bulldog. Another teacher—whose classroom happens to be filled with frog decorations—ate frog legs. But language arts teacher Michele Cox took the cake, by eating something very un-cake-like: She swallowed worms, of the gummy variety at first. "Most of them don't think you'll do it," she explains, so she began by implying she might not as well, before moving on to live earthworms. "It's OK. I chased it with chocolate," she says of the experience. Janet Dees, the teacher who ate frog legs, jokes that she had it worse. "The worms were able to just slide down the throat, but I actually had to chew the frog." But all the teachers agree on one thing: If the promise of watching a guinea pig get kissed helped the kids get through four hours of testing, it was worth it. (Read about how "heartbreaking" notes inspired this teacher to make a difference.)