Milo Adventist Academy principal Randy Thornton went over the top in his fundraising efforts for the senior class of 2020. He slept on the roof of the Milo Adventist Church in southern Oregon on the night of May 20, 2020, to fulfill a promise made at an auction for the graduating class.
The scheme began in January when senior students approached Thornton and asked if, at their senior recognition benefit dinner, they could auction the experience of the principal spending a night on a roof. He responded, “Sure, but let’s make this more fun. If the bid goes to 100 bucks, I’ll sleep on the administration building roof.” Since that roof is just one-story high, Thornton proposed sleeping on the roof of the three-story dorm if the bid went to $300. If it went as high as $500, he would sleep on top of the tallest roof on campus — the church.
When auction night came, the “principal’s night on the roof” item did not sell quickly. A few low bids were made, but the seniors were not satisfied. They wanted to see their principal sleep on the highest rooftop on campus. The students went table to table, collecting enough funds to buy the principal’s challenge for $500.
Thornton prepared for his night on the church roof by building a platform that would allow him to sleep safely on the high peak. During the final week of school, he ascended to the rooftop in a manlift at 8 p.m. with students and staff looking on.
Initially, Thornton recalls he was a bit unsettled by the height. However, he states, “Within about 20 to 30 minutes, it was just like being in the armchair.” Thornton was even able to do work on his laptop from his perch since he had Wi-Fi reception on the roof. He says he “slept like a baby all night long” and was even ready to stay longer to sleep when he woke up at sunrise. He was picked up by a staff member in the manlift at 6:15 a.m., having spent around 10 hours on the rooftop.
The principal’s night on the roof led to more fundraising when an alumnus purchased Thornton’s platform for $500. The money from the purchase was dedicated to student aid. Since the school had a matching funds grant happening at that time, that $500 was doubled.
Though this was the first time anyone at Milo had slept on a rooftop for fundraising, Thornton surmises it will not be the last. He says people are already “signing up to sleep on the roof next year.” He concludes, “I’m looking forward to seeing how much more fun we can have with it.”