The Washington Post

Loudoun school principal eats stink bug tacos — and lives

Dave Michener, principal of Hillsboro Elementary School, eats a stink bug taco to reward his students for reading at home every night throughout the school year. He must really love reading. (Ken Stewart/Hillsboro Elementary School PTA)

Well, they did. And, he did.

As first reported by, Michener paid out his reward at the year-end school assembly Thursday and pounded down a full serving of the invasive species, which have been a plague on Loudoun crops of late. He used a Sprite chaser.

“It was a fantastic experience,” Michener said. “The bugs were obviously very crunchy, with a slight after taste.” The stink bugs, sauteed in lemon and butter, were actually the salsa on top of a steak taco with lettuce and guacamole, Michener said. He was only able to finish one, as the student body of around 100 chanted, “Eat it! Eat it!” and then howled with delight.

Last year, Michener said he let the kids shave his head as their reading reward. The year before that, he slept on the roof. He said PTA President Ken Stewart came up with the stink bug idea for this year, and that next year’s reading reward ”will be a challenge.”

Michener, 41, has been the principal at Hillsboro for seven years, and is also the principal at Lincoln Elementary School in Purcellville. Here’s a great video package put together by, including a taste test by staff writers Laura Peters and Andrew Sharbel:

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.


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