As six hundred and fifty students adorned in “Imagine, Believe, Achievements” t-shirts flooded the field of Washington School, a huge energy of childhood animation became contagious. Washington students jumped on hay bales, kicked soccer balls into goals, cooled down in a “car wash,” elbowed their way through an army crawl, took selfies with the school mascot, “Willy the Wildcat,” tried their rhythm at drumming with Boom Chaka and spiked volleyballs high over a net.
This year marked the second year in a row for Washington School and the Move-A-Thon. Traditionally, a jogathon would hold this space. Yet, with a goal of a more diverse-opportunity for children to feel challenged physically, the school effectively hosted an incredible community-building day for everyone.
6th graders had the opportunity to participate in a color run. Parent volunteers spritzed the kids with bright colors as the students looped the course over and over, until each and every 6th grader was covered head to toe and those soon-to-be graduates smiles shone with color dust. The field, lit-up by color-washed t-shirts, kids with snow cones from Kona Ice and rainbow confetti never looked so spirited! This day will most certainly be marked as an elementary highlight for all the students.
The music, the energy, the excitement all fed the community at Washington in the best way possible by uniting the students, families, staff and volunteers in something so much bigger than what the school aimed to do. There were only kids being kids and without competition or awards at the end of the day; only pure bliss existed.
With a constant pressure for public schools to perform at higher levels, limited by less resources and funding, it is easy to miss the mark on preserving what allows children to be at their best. This Mesa school has not faltered. To elevate students to their highest potential, intrinsic motivators such as joy, freedom to choose pace and activity, activated challenges with a support network and recognition for work well done were highlighted during the event.
Washington Elementary School is exemplary in their efforts to have a school-wide event be inclusive for all students. As one of the biggest fundraisers for the school annually, the financial goal has nearly been met, proving good ol’ fashion fun can bring waves of goodness on so many levels.