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Jordan Is ‘Principal for a Day’

April 20, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ Once you got past the 14-member security team and the barricades barring students from certain hallways, Marshall Metro looked like any other high school. To the left, the trophy case; to the right, Michael Jordan, the new principal.

``I was told that I would be getting a visitor, but I thought it would be someone like Al Gore or Clinton,″ said consumer education and American history teacher Carol Rolowicz. ``But Michael Jordan? This is the biggest thing that’s ever happened to this school, including when Oprah came 10 years ago.″

Indeed, it was Michael Jordan holding court Tuesday as ``Principal for a Day.″ In an effort to get businessmen and companies to support the educational process, the Chicago Public School system came up with the ``Principal for a Day″ program to benefit the children and the educational system.

The 1,150 students enrolled at the West Side high school weren’t concerned with the details of education. Their sole purpose was straining to catch a glimpse of the man whose name adorns their shoes.

The young crowd was awestruck during an early assembly when they discovered that the man seated in front of them was ol’ No. 23.

George Crockett’s African-American history class reveled in rattling off questions to the 6-foot-6 Jordan, who managed to stuff his thin frame into a child’s desk.

``Why don’t you run for mayor?″ and ``Why don’t you coach your own team?″ were tossed out in the short informal Q&A session. When there was an awkward pause, Jordan fell into afterschool special mode, reminding the young adults about the importance of education.

Rolowicz’s class also steamed right ahead with questions, including: ``Are you going to buy the Hornets?″ and ``Will you be the speaker at our graduation?″

A simple ``no, not right now″ was the response to the former, while a ``Ummm, I’d like to″ answered the latter. Requests for handshakes were abundant; confessions of love were few but adamant.

Nina Miles kept raising her hand for the principal’s attention, while Jordan, displaying a Cheshire Cat grin, said, ``Yeah, I can feel the love in this room.″

Junior Mary Walker just stood in the back of the class, afraid to approach Jordan when it came time for a group photo.

``Did Ron Harper tell you what I told him to tell you?″ was all that she could say.

``What was that?″ Jordan asked.

``Hi,″ she said with an ``aw-shucks″ smile.

The students’ awe lasted after His Airness left Crockett’s class. A young student asked if she could sit in the chair Jordan recently vacated. Her teacher acquiesced, the teen smiled and made her way to the head of the class to sit atop the once and future Jordan throne.

``I’m just glad Rodman didn’t come,″ Rolowicz added.

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