East Midvale students finish school year with fun runJul 08, 2021 12:49PM ● By Julie Slama
And they’re off — East Midvale students run for fun around their school campus, resuming the annual event after soft closure of schools because of COVID-19 canceled it last spring. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
By Julie Slama | [email protected]
Fifth-grader Avery Baer said she will miss having all her friends in the same class and has appreciated her teachers at her elementary school, East Midvale.
“The best thing are the teachers who are so supportive of the students and are happy and willing to teach us,” she said. “They’re caring…and give us so much.”
Avery also will miss the annual fun run she had completed earlier that day. She had participated in the fun run every year since kindergarten, with last year on hiatus because of the soft closure of schools during COVID-19 pandemic last spring.
“The fun run is really fun. We can see all our friends, we get pumped up during the warm-ups and everyone cheers us on as we run,” she said. “The fifth grade all ran together. It’s a fun way to end the school year, almost the end of the end of our elementary school.”
Avery said that the fifth grade prepared themselves for the fun run, running one mile every week called the Midvale Mile on the school grounds. After the run, fifth-graders continued the tradition of holding a dance party on the grass.
This year’s fun run was different, said Lesley Baer, who originated the idea and after seven years is stepping down.
This year’s course was around the school campus. Previously, students raced throughout the neighborhood, often with current Principal Matt Nelson or former principals Sally Sansom and Justin Pitcher joining them and Unified Police directing traffic.
Baer said the changes in the course were good: “It works better, the flow is better with the start and finish in different locations. Now, they finish on the grass and can chill out there.”
It traditionally also is a fundraiser; this year it was just for fun.
“When things started opening up more during COVID, we knew we wanted to still hold a fun run; the kids look forward to it,” she said, adding that the fundraiser this year was purely donations. “We didn’t have much time once we got the OK to hold it. Typically, we book the police one year ahead so this year, we decided to just hold it as an event and change it up.”
Also different was not holding the Family Fitness Night the night prior to the run, which traditionally is held in May.
“We couldn’t make that happen, but I hope it comes back after COVID. The whole idea of this is to promote health and physical fitness awareness and get the kids more involved,” she said.
Baer came up with the idea for the fun run fundraiser when she said she’d head the fundraiser as long as students wouldn’t sell cookie dough or wrapping paper.
“This way, every one dollar went to the school and it mostly went to the next year’s field trips,” she said.
She has appreciated the support of the community from Unified Police DARE officer Ryan Jonkman to Rob from “Life of the Party,” who is a deejay for the warm-ups and run. New Balance also donates running bibs, Sam’s Club donated granola bars and water and Winco provided $500 for the school, which was used in part to fund the fifth-grade post-race ice cream party, Baer said.
Through the years, neighbors also have sat alongside the route to cheer on the students, she added.
“This year, we added some different kind of fun along the route. There were stations where students would get silly stringed, squirted with water, run through bubbles and then, snacks at the end,” she said, adding that fruit was provided at the finish as well. “We do this for the kids. They have such a good time and have fun.”