Someone You Should Know: From Team Mascot to “Quacky” Collection

HARRISBURG, S.D. – It’s not everyday that you walk into someone’s office and see 300 rubber ducks, but that all changes once you’ve met Harrisburg North Middle School Principal Micah Fesler.

Fesler’s superpower doesn’t come with a cape or a mask, but rather it’s painted in the form of a yellow rubber duck.

“I just thought it was cool to have the ninja duck there, and the kids they saw it. They latched on to it and it kind of became a tradition that was passed on from year to year,” says Fesler.

11 years later and he now has 300 unique rubber ducks, each with its own message and a special meaning from his students.

The idea first came from a ‘Destination Imagination’ team his wife coached.  They were trying to come up with a team mascot and the “ninja ducks” stuck with the team.  That began the tradition of his students each giving Principal Fesler a rubber duck that would stand out.

“You can’t dream of having 300 rubber ducks,” says Fesler.

From ninja duck, to one representing New York, and even a construction worker rubber duck given by student Isaac Kauffman.

“When I first walked into his office, I actually didn’t notice the ducks at first and then I turned and was like ‘What?'” says Isaac Kauffman.

It’s hard not to have a reaction when you see Principal Fesler’s office, but it’s also hard to not want to be part of the tradition.

“I actually didn’t know, I just heard that students brought in ducks.  I just am like, hmm, I want to be part of that,” says Kauffman with a chuckle.

It’s a legacy that not even the students knew would leave an impact on their once teacher and now principal.

“For me it represents the kids that I have taught, and it’s kind of a reminder about the uniqueness of each of the students,” says Fesler.

A uniqueness that each is humbled to be a part of.

“I actually felt like he was happy, I gave it to him,” says Kauffman.

For a guy who never cared for rubber ducks, he’s grown to love all 300 of them.

Principal Fesler says as the years continue he’s had to move things around to fit all the ducks, but plans to always find room for them.

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