WADSWORTH — The temperature in their tent may have been 40 degrees Tuesday night, but between all the snacks the students dropped off and the support from the community, Wadsworth Middle School Principal Eric Jackson and Assistant Principal Dave Ryder made it through the night.

The pair slept on the roof of the middle school — in below-freezing weather — as a reward for the school exceeding its goal for its annual canned food drive.

“It went very well. We had a lot of public support,” Jackson said Wednesday afternoon. “We had a lot of people that stopped by.”

Each year, the Wadsworth school district hosts a canned food drive, with the items donated to the local Salvation Army. This year, the middle school’s goal was set at 10,000 cans. The school ended up collecting 10,166 cans.

From the time they went up on the roof after school around 2:30 p.m. until around 10 p.m., students and community members stopped by, dropping off everything from Chipotle food to a 1-pound Snickers bar to hot chocolate and cookies. Getting doughnuts up on the roof was a challenge that required attaching the bag to a climber’s rope that Jackson had tethered.

A student flew a drone overhead and took several pictures of the principals. The two even had a snowball fight with some wrestlers leaving the school. The principals also stayed engaged with students by posting on Instagram.

They said they stayed warm with space heaters, sleeping bags and several layers of clothes.

“We stayed pretty toasty,” Ryder said.

“Forty sounds chilly, but when you’re wrapped up in all that stuff, it wasn’t that bad,” Jackson added.

Jackson and Ryder said they went to sleep around 11 p.m. Tuesday. An assistant principal from the high school woke them up around 6:25 a.m. Wednesday.

Getting everything — including a TV, a tent, cots, sleeping bags, chairs and space heaters — back down off the roof was “a chore,” Jackson said, but with the help of a custodian, they got it done.

Jackson thanked everyone who donated cans to get them up on the roof.

“It was a really fun, interactive community event, so I think it was really successful,” Jackson said. “It was well worth it.”


Beacon Journal reporter Emily Mills can be reached at 330-996-3334, emills@thebeaconjournal.com and @EmilyMills818.