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Claim to Fame

It wasn't the song's punk-pop beat or the in-your-face lyrics that caught the attention of Mike Dancy when he first watched a music video by the Canadian singer Avril Lavigne.

The first thing Mr. Dancy, the principal of North Carolina's Wilkesboro Elementary School, noticed was the green-and-gold T-shirt Ms. Lavigne wore in the video while skateboarding through a hallway and jumping on a car. It had been about five years since the school sold that type of shirt—adorned with the school's name, its motto, and an eagle—but it has now put Wilkesboro, N.C., on the map.

Mr. Dancy found out about the pop singer's choice of clothing after a teacher saw a picture on the Internet of Ms. Lavigne wearing the T-shirt.

Then, a few months later, a freelance reporter got in touch with Mr. Dancy for a story he was writing about how fans immediately rush to buy clothes worn by Ms. Lavigne. The writer said that the singer most likely had gotten the shirt from a New York thrift store.

Fans all over the world want to wear the now-famous Wilkesboro Elementary School shirt Ms. Lavigne wore in her video "Sk8ter Boi" (pronounced "skater boy"). So Mr. Dancy decided it was time to cash in.

Marcia Reynolds, the president of the school's parent-teacher organization, has received hundreds of e-mails about the T-shirts, and orders have come from as far away as Europe and Asia, Mr. Dancy said. Local residents and the school's 437 students also are lining up to buy the shirts.

"Man, she's a hot item down here. We're thrilled," Mr. Dancy said. "Those T-shirts like she wore are just all over the place. Even the cafeteria ladies have them."

The PTO ordered 1,000 shirts, and about 750 have already been sold, he said.

The shirts are being sold at the school for $10 and on eBay for $20. The money will go toward buying computers for all the classrooms, Mr. Dancy said. Students are tracking sales with a map hung on a bulletin board in the school hallway.

And the school would like Ms. Lavigne to visit and perform for the students, Mr. Dancy said, but so far has been unsuccessful at reaching the singer's agent.

—Hattie Brown

Vol. 22, Issue 28, Page 3

Published in Print: March 26, 2003, as Take Note

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