By John Anderson
The Turkey Trot was started by Physical Education Teacher Ann Shane in 2006 after she witnessed some of the poverty in South Africa. She partnered with the non-profit Pride ‘n Purpose which works to improve schools, health care and the supply of clean drinking water. Her students at Julia Bancroft came on board to raise funds, and now the population has doubled with the opening of Swanson Road Intermediate School.
At the conclusion of the fundraiser each fall, the grade 3-5 students celebrated and a costumed turkey was in attendance. Shane played that role during the first year, but others have stepped up to help including former AMS Vice-Principal John Giordano and School Resource Officer Brian Kennedy.
The celebration was held last Wednesday, the 25th, and it occurred not once but three times. There is no room at SWIS to hold the entire student body, so they had to do it for each grade.
This year’s fundraising goal was $1,000, but the larger student body made this just a stepping-stone. During the celebration, Mrs. Shane showed the students a sign with what had been counted by Wednesday morning, $2,821. After a count later in the day, the total raised was $3,413 and money is still coming in.
Two students deserve a special shout out, siblings Olivia and Simon Borda. In the third and fifth grade, respectively, they were so moved by the plight of the children in these African villages that they created a brochure that was sent to their family and friends. They raised $250 for the cause. Altogether, Auburn students have raised over $15,000 since the Turkey Trot began.
For the grade 3 students and those who came from Pakachoag, Wednesday morning was probably a bit of a surprise. Teacher Ali Shankle wore the turkey suit and greeted the children as they arrived.
Later in the morning, Julie Ferdella played the turkey for grade 3, Jamie Blatt dressed for grade 4, and Joyce McGregor was the star for grade 5. After some dancing and music, the teachers in each grade did a flash mob dance that made the children roar with laughter. This was definitely not how a child expects to see his teacher.
The culmination of each performance was when the turkey was unveiled, and the kids were thrilled. Good thing this was a half-day.
Congratulations on a great effort that shows the unselfish actions of Auburn students as well as the generosity of the Auburn community.