Sultana High School Principal Larry Bird changed into an old T-shirt and workout clothes before stepping out into the quad during a recent lunch break. Things were going to get messy.


The Sultans had just wrapped up their annual canned goods drive on Nov. 18. To celebrate, Bird and the ASB class that collected the fewest cans were about to be doused in canned Thanksgiving foods.


"I got it no matter what, no matter what they got," Bird said later.


The goal this year was 8,000 cans of food collected for the needy. The final count, as of Friday morning: 10,223 cans.


"Especially when you're looking at tough times," Bird said, "it just shows that people still want to help out their neighbors. I believe it's one of the biggest turnouts we've ever had."


Last year, the Sultans collected a little more than 6,100 cans.


Bird and members of the junior ASB officers took their places in chairs just off the main drag, surrounded by a crowd grinning in anticipation. He and the juniors howled and laughed as creamed corn, hominy, sweet potatoes and baked beans all poured, cold and wet, straight from the cans. Bird shot up in his seat, wiping his eyes as the juices from the canned sweet potatoes stung his eyes.


"I wasn't quite expecting that," he said, "but how many times do you have food poured all over you?"


The collected food was donated to local churches and the Victor Valley Rescue Mission. On Nov. 17, Sultana ASB fed the homeless at the Victor Valley Rescue Mission.