When the Grade 3-5 students at Julia Bancroft transitioned to the Swanson Road Intermediate School they brought with them an established tradition, the annual Turkey Trot. When former Pakachoag students joined them, the fundraiser doubled its effectiveness.

Physical Education teacher Ann Shane saw the Turkey Trot as an opportunity to combine exercise with philanthropy to support educational efforts in impoverished communities around the Ulusaba Game Preserve in South Africa. Non-profit Pride ‘n Purpose coordinates many efforts in the region, and they appreciate the efforts of Auburn residents.

The Trot is quite simple. A goal is set ($2,000 this year), and if it is met or exceeded, a celebrity Turkey greets students at an assembly. While grade 4 and 5 students know what to expect, those in the third grade do not, and their excitement is wonderful.

On the day before Thanksgiving, $3,500 had been donated by the time the assemblies started, and funds were still coming in.

The faculty and staff of Julia Bancroft also transitioned to SWIS a few years ago, and one notable person was Administrative Assistent Nancy Murphy. At the end of the school day on November 23rd, Murphy retired from the Auburn Public Schools, but in the morning she was the Celebrity Turkey for all three grade specific assemblies.

Dancing to the Village People’s 1978 hit YMCA, Murphy greeted the students and strutted her stuff in perfect form. The students added a ton of excitement, and all three grades showed their appreciation when her retirement was announced.

Anyone who has ever dealt with Nancy Murphy in the offices at Julia Bancroft or Swanson Road knows she was in total control of the office and its procedures. She was efficient, but she was also nice. She will be missed.

Congratulations of the students and staff at Swanson Road Intermediate School for another great Turkey Trot, and we wish our best to Nancy Murphy on her retirement.