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LCE fifth-grader Ryan Ryu takes the reins as Principal for the Day

Some elementary schoolers dream about being pilots, doctors or movie stars, but for La Cañada Elementary School fifth-grader Ryan Ryu, the prospect of running the school — if even for a single day — was too sweet an opportunity to pass up.

Each year, the distinction of being LCE’s Principal for a Day goes up for grabs in an auction during the school’s Halloween Haunt fundraiser. Ryu said his third-grade sister, Sofia, was interested in art classes, while the chance of being principal caught his eye.

“It seemed very interesting because you got to learn what a principal does,” the 10-year-old reasoned.

And so, last Thursday morning, while other kids opted for jackets and blue jeans, Ryu put on a navy blue suit and white dress shirt and headed in for a day of work. When he arrived on campus, he was given a clipboard with a rundown of the day’s events and Principal Emily Blaney’s walkie-talkie, so he could be reached anywhere at any time.


“Principal Ryu, this is the office — come in, please,” school secretary Jenny Lee called into a handset when a visitor of the journalistic variety arrived at the front office inquiring as to the principal’s whereabouts.

The day began with early morning greetings to motorists in the LCE car line and continued with classroom visits to students in fourth- through sixth-grade. Blaney accompanied Ryu, occasionally lending her administrative expertise when necessary.

Less than two hours into the day, Blaney said Ryu seemed well suited to the position.

“He’s been quite the natural so far,” she said.


At 9 a.m., Ryu made his way to the library, where he greeted a group of nearly 35 prospective parents visiting the campus for a tour. Blaney explained the particulars of class sizes and schedules, while Ryu offered his own pitch.

“All of the grades are very fun, and you learn a lot,” he said to the group. “Everyone is good and respectful to the teachers — I hope your kids come here soon.”

Twitter: @SaraCardine