Principal who played at Georgia Tech honors bet for good cause with students who love UGA

PAULDING COUNTY, Ga. — Nebo Elementary School principal Rodney Wilkerson believes if you dish it out, you have to be able to take it.

“It’s funny. I’m like—wow. I don’t take it personally anymore,” he said.

Back in the day, the principal played linebacker at Georgia Tech.

But almost all of his students in Paulding County live and breathe UGA football.

“I think it was pretty hilarious, and the fact that he hated it made it even more fun,” fifth grader Claire Waters said.

Georgia Tech and No. 1 Georgia will face off in the annual rivalry Saturday only on Channel 2. Special coverage begins with a live Bulldogs Game Day at 11 a.m. followed by kickoff at Noon.

This month, the school took part in the annual “Pennies for Paulding” campaign to buy Christmas gifts for local children who would otherwise go without them.

Wilkerson issued a challenge. If students could double their annual donation, he would not only dress in red and black, but he would paint a bulldog on his head, too.

“Everyone had a blast watching him ‘suffer.’ Out of love, of course,” school counselor Dr. Meitra Perry said.

Nebo students and their parents didn’t double the giving. They tripled it.

That subjected the former Yellow Jackets player to triple the teasing.

“And that day —as soon as I walked out —you could hear the horns honking, ‘Go Dawgs!’ I said, hey---it’s all for a good cause,” Wilkerson said.