No need to be sheepish

Jeffrey Ashbeck is $25 richer this holiday season, and he has a sheep's large intestine to thank.

The 14-year-old freshman was the lucky winner of Ocean View High School's Sheep Drop on Monday, which raised funds for the charity Heifer International. For those unfamiliar with how a sheep drop works, here goes: The school rented a live sheep, fed it lots of hay, had it wander around a fenced area with numbered squares painted on the grass, and then awarded a $25 gift card to the student whose number the sheep defecated on.

By the time Sheepy, the 7-week-old sheep that the school rented from a local farm company, relieved himself on No. 66, the bell had already rung and most onlookers had gone back to class. Jeffrey heard the news from a classmate and sprinted back to the quad to claim his prize.

"I heard it pooped on 66," he said. "I didn't believe it. I thought, 'You're just saying that to make me feel better.' And then I started jumping for joy."

The school's International Baccalaureate club puts on a fundraiser every year for Heifer International, a nonprofit dedicated to fighting world hunger. English teacher Jeneane Ottman, who co-advises the club's community service program, tries to come up with fresh ways of hooking students' interest; last year, the club offered tie-dye T-shirt making for a small fee.

This time, the club did a double fundraiser. Male students and faculty participated in the Novem-Decem Beard competition, in which they grew facial hair and encouraged others to vote, through a donation of 25 cents or more, for their favorite beard or mustache. Meanwhile, Ottman, who had seen a cow drop in Reno, suggested a similar event to raise additional funds.

"I guess I come up with crazy ideas, so they put me in charge," she said.

Ottman and her students sold more than 100 $2 tickets for squares on the field, with $25 going to the winner and the rest going to Heifer International. Monday morning, Ottman picked up Sheepy from Wagon Train Feed & Tack in Orange and took him on a walking tour of the commons to stir interest in the Sheep Drop.

It turned out to be an auspicious start, as Sheepy defecated three times around the commons, according to Ottman.

By the time lunch rolled around, more than 100 students and faculty crowded around the fenced-off area. Sheepy's bowels, though, proved more stubborn than they had in the morning. Seniors Matt Winans and Ian McGregor lured the animal from one end of the pen to another, each one dropping handfuls of hay on different squares and inviting Sheepy to eat out of their hands. Still, for more than half an hour, the grass stayed mess-free.

"Hey, how many of you guys could poop in front of this many people?" biology teacher Sara Spilsbury asked after some students began snapping at Sheepy to get the job done.

More than a few hands shot up, and Spilsbury retorted, "Sorry! That is not a volunteer question!"

When Sheepy finally relieved himself on square 66, the crowd burst into applause, and Ian inserted a wooden stake in the ground to mark the spot.

"How about that, at the last minute, right after the bell rang?" Principal Dan Bryan said as Sheepy posed for pictures with his minders. "It's high drama."

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