Bobbie Finocchio, principal of the Cummings Elementary School, performed a series of headstands in the middle of the school cafeteria.
It was for a very good reason and her students certainly appreciated the effort.
Finocchio was doing her best to help her school win the top prize in Stop & Shopâ€™s Annual A Plus Principal Challenge.
â€œItâ€™s a national contest and the grand prize is $1,000 to be used toward the school,â€ said Finocchio. â€œThis yearâ€™s challenge was that a principal had to do a crazy event. So the craziest principal wins the prize.â€
During each of the six lunch periods at the school, Finocchio, wearing a business suit, did headstands on the lunch tables for two minutes.
â€œIâ€™ve been doing headstands since 2006,â€ said Finocchio, who at 29 is one of the stateâ€™s youngest school principals. â€œIâ€™m a yoga instructor and I thought the kids would really get a kick out of seeing the principal doing a headstand and they loved it.â€
Finocchio said the headstands were also meant to preach what the staff teaches to its students at the school: strength, balance, focus, and concentration to overcome many challenges.
â€œThatâ€™s something I live by and thatâ€™s something I think is really important to instill in our students,â€ she said.
Finocchioâ€™s display of athleticism does not surprise those who watched her play sports for the Winthrop High Vikings.
Finocchio was a captain and an All-Star pitcher for the WHS softball team and a captain and a No. 1 singles player for the tennis. She continued her athletic career at Regis College were she was a captain of the softball team and a member of the tennis team.
â€œBobbie was a terrific athlete,â€ said Cummings School teacher Warren MacPhail. â€œMy wife [Dani Foley] was her coach on the tennis team.â€
Finocchio coached softball at Newton South for four seasons and later at Saugus High for three seasons, giving up her position when she was appointed school principal.
She teaches yoga in Melrose and at Marie Hamilton RPM Fitness in Winthrop where she also works on conditioning and yoga with high school and college athletes.
Finocchio will find out in March if the Stop & Shop judges go head over heels for her headstands and she brings home the big prize for her school.