Students gobble up Turkey Trot

Published 6:41 pm Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Children at Kilby Shores Elementary School walked throughout the building Wednesday morning and filled the hallways with laughter, high-fives and smiles as they finished one lap after another for their school’s annual Turkey Trot.

They listened to the music in the gym as they walked to raise money for Special Olympics. Some held hands, and both children and adults wore their Turkey Trot event T-shirts. Parents and other volunteers guided the students, including the school’s Dads of Great Students, or Watch D.O.G.S.

It was an “unbelievable turnout,” said Watch D.O.G.S. parent Thurston Sumner III, with families supporting their kids and the energy Wednesday morning from the kids themselves.

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The dreary rain Wednesday morning almost “fowl”-ed up the pre-Thanksgiving event, but volunteers were able to cook up a new plan.

“It’s the stuff behind the scenes that really makes this take off,” Sumner said.

The Turkey Trot held by Kilby Shores Elementary School is an annual one-mile fun run and walk for hundreds of Kilby Shores students, as well as many parents who walked right alongside their young children Wednesday morning.

The event teaches the students the importance of raising money for a good cause, and also helps build an appetite for all of the turkey, stuffing and other fixings for Thursday.

“It was meant to be a way to give the students exercise and physical activity this day before Thanksgiving, because tomorrow they’re going to be eating a lot of really good food,” said physical education teacher Austin Kulp, “so we want to balance out those calories with some energy output — so running a mile.”

Kulp credited the resource staff for their “countless hours” of work to put on the event.

“All of us work together to kind of create this,” he said.

Normally, the students run laps around the school property outdoors to hit the mile mark, but the showers Wednesday morning put a damper on that plan. But the families and staff at Kilby Shores were fortunate to have a reliable team of volunteers for this year’s Turkey Trot.

Principal Lorri Banks said it took just minutes for the volunteers to get all of their equipment indoors Wednesday morning and pivot to a new staging area in the gym.

“I think our volunteers were essential in making sure that this was a success,” Banks said.

Instead of waves of different grades running on the grass outside, these tiny trotters walked around the school for about 30 minutes each wave to hit their mile marks. The children also received Cuties oranges when they were done, which were donated by Bethlehem Christian Church Pastor Matt Winters.

“We’re very thankful for (the volunteers’ help), because they were able to come out and help to pump the kids up also,” Banks said. “The kids are very enthused about this and the staff is very enthused. If you can look around, a lot of the staff members have on their Turkey Trot shirts too.

This year’s Turkey Trot shirts featured a design by fifth-grader Jasmine Roberts, according to Banks, and were sold during the month of October to raise money for Special Olympics Virginia.

The school has raised more than $500 for Special Olympics Virginia through their Turkey Trot shirt sales. The staff, parents and other valuable volunteers were also able to teach valuable lessons to the children, and thanks to their quick work, they didn’t need an umbrella to do it.

“I think the Turkey Trot is important,” Banks said. “What it does is help children understand about giving back — because we are donating to Special Olympics — but it also incorporates physical activity, which is a big push for us. We believe in helping the body and the mind at school.”