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Draper Journal

Ready, set, go — local elementary schools’ students run for fun

Oct 24, 2019 01:32PM ● By Julie Slama

Oak Hollow’s Ace the Eagle runs along with elementary students during the school’s fun run fundraiser. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Three local elementary schools’ students were off — running, smiling and having fun in their school runs.

At Willow Springs, the 11th annual run was a fundraiser, with a goal of $17,500 to pay for field trips, chess club’s computer program, teacher grants and other PTA activities, said school PTA President Kathy Kimball.

“Everyone had a ton of fun and we had great support from parents and siblings, cheering and helping out along the route,” she said. The one-mile course brings neighbors out in lawn chairs to also clap for the students. “And the kids like to run together.”

Third-grader Karly Van Valkenburg said that was one of her favorite parts.

“I’m not the running person, but I did run up to the water stations and hoses they sprayed us with,” she said. “I liked how everyone cheered for you — even when I was walking, they told me to keep going.”

Fifth-grader Brooke Anselmo agrees.

“I love that the whole neighborhood cheers us on and got the hoses out to spray us,” she said. “And the Corner Canyon Chargers came and helped us so that was a lot of fun, too.”

Several Corner Canyon High teams and students came to help the Willow Springs students stretch and run.

“The Corner Canyon students are so cute with our students. They’ll run with them or say they’ll catch them to keep them going,” Kimball said.

Third-grader Thomas Pollock said he ran the mile through the neighborhood in 14 minutes.

“It was fun, hard, but I pushed myself,” he said. “I ran some by myself and some with friends.”

Both Thomas and fifth-grader Tessa Egbert run with Race Cats after school, so they were prepared for the run.

“I liked that it wasn’t long distance, but a comfortable length,” said Tessa, who said she was the fastest fifth-grade girl that day. “It’s a run for fun, not a race, but Race Cats and playing soccer does help improve my speed and make it so I’m not so tired.” 

Afterward, the students liked soaking teachers and their principal in the dunk tank.

“Some teachers are really happy to do it and will take extra shifts and some kids will run up and push the button if they don’t hit it with their throw,” Kimball said. “This is always a fun event.”

The Dragon Dash also is a favorite among Draper Elementary students and families. This year, it was held on Corner Canyon’s track, as in recent years, but consolidated into heats of 100-yard dash.

“The kids really like competing against each other, and the top three boys and girls in each grade could select treats from our food trucks, who donated them,” Draper PTA Dragon Dash Coordinator Timette Wankier. Others could purchase items from vendors who donated prizes: Iceberg shakes, Joy Popsicle, Kona Ice, Dinky Donuts and Little Caesars Pizza. “I think our families liked supporting the Dragon Dash for fun, not as our fundraiser.”

This year, about 600 people came to support the dash, Wankier said, rather than 300 the previous year. 

“It was an impressive turnout and fun for CCHS drill team to cheer our students down the track,” Wankier said, adding that they also helped give all students beaded necklaces after the run.

Instead of having the run be the fundraiser, Wankier said they instead held a no-fuss fundraiser, encouraging the 710 students to ask family and friends for donations for the school PTA activities. In addition, students held school-wide dress-up days, which helps to unify the school.

“They have really, really loved the dress-up days, and if we raise $25,000 the principal will kiss a pig to tie into our theme, ‘When Pigs Fly,’” Wankier said.

As of press deadline, Draper Elementary and Oak Hollow Elementary — who held their run on their school field — were still collecting donations after their fun run.

“Thirty-five laps are two miles,” Oak Hollow Elementary Principal Julie Mootz said, after running with the kindergartners and first-graders. “We’re wanting to raise $25,000 for technology, field trips and PTA activities.”

While Oak Hollow has held fun runs in the past, this year the PTA board decided “to try something different and have the Boosterthon here this year,” Mootz said. “They’ve been here all week and have talked to kids and shown them videos about kindness, compassion, anti-bullying and other character ed.”

Oak Hollow PTA Board member Erin Seibel said that in addition to addressing character and integrity, they also have encouraged healthy lifestyles.

“We’ve talked about healthy eating and getting exercise and the Boosterthon team has been out at recess with the kids every day at recess,” she said.

Another thing that was stressed during the week is that the run was for fun, not a race.

“We tell them, you can walk, hop or stand there, but it’s not a race,” Mootz said. “If a kindergartner says he’s done, then he’s done. We want to keep it fun.” 

In keeping with that spirit, Oak Hollow’s Ace the Eagle ran alongside some kindergarten and first-grade students as well as gave them high-fives during their fun run. Signs supporting the runners dotted the course.

Stephanie Morgan’s first-grade daughter, Indy, ran with her classmates.

“I like that they don’t have to sell something, but instead, they can have fun with their class,” Morgan said. “They’re all together, getting exercise and benefitting the school.”