Six local families in need will get a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, thanks to the efforts of students at Conestoga and Martic elementary schools who took part in the “Fall Turkey Chase.”
Both schools have Recess Running Clubs that encourage students to run, walk or jog during their recess to improve their heart health. The clubs have been in place for years, but this year, Kathy Young, a physical education teacher at the two schools, added the “Fall Turkey Chase” challenge.
From September to Nov. 12, she encouraged every class at the schools to “catch a turkey for Thanksgiving” by logging at least 200 laps, or 30 miles, at recess every Tuesday and Thursday. That’s the distance from the schools to Esbenshade Turkey Farm in Paradise.
“At Conestoga, I wanted everybody to participate and make it a teamwork challenge,” Young said. “Out of the whole school, excluding kindergarten, every child ran at least one lap, and 11 of 12 classrooms caught a turkey by logging 200 laps.”
Conestoga’s second grade logged the most laps – 800, the equivalent of 120 miles – but pupils in all grades at both schools rose to the challenge, logging a total of more than 1,600 miles, enough to “catch” 25 imaginary turkeys.
Young credited parent volunteers – Pam Noll at Conestoga and Karen Lausch at Martic – with helping make the effort a success.
On a whim, she mentioned the students’ accomplishments to Esbenshade’s, and the company donated six plump turkeys to the Penn Manor Family Fund. The birds will be given to the needy as part of an upcoming Thanksgiving meal distribution, which will benefit about 125 families.
Young said the activity served a dual purpose.
“It was good for the students and good for the community,” she said. “Kids giving back – is there anything better than that?”
In the photo, Conestoga ES students, from left, Daniel Hess, Trevor Adams, Miles Sandt, Gabriel Midile, Joseph Greer and Melissa Weaver display three of the donated turkeys with their principal, Tamara Baker.