Sheffield, Hillcrest schools launch inaugural Turkey Trot in Turners Falls

  • Elementary school students participate in Wednesday’s Turkey Trot between Sheffield and Hillcrest Elementary schools in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

  • Elementary school students participate in Wednesday’s Turkey Trot between Sheffield and Hillcrest Elementary schools in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/JULIAN MENDOZA

Staff Writer
Published: 11/23/2022 2:01:54 PM
Modified: 11/23/2022 2:01:44 PM

TURNERS FALLS — Students at Sheffield and Hillcrest Elementary schools flocked to the field between their buildings for their inaugural Turkey Trot run on Wednesday, beginning what organizers hope becomes a longstanding tradition.

Physical education teacher Liz Tyler, who is in her first year working for the Gill-Montague Regional School District, said she has organized these Thanksgiving “fun runs” at other school districts throughout her career. She said the events have consistently been a joyous way for children to kick off the holiday.

“It’s just a fun community event for the school, seeing kids of various ages out with each other,” she said.

Virtually the entire student population of both schools — and even some family members — participated in the Turkey Trot, which consisted of a loop around the field. They were chaperoned by staff members clad in turkey costumes and festive apparel. Many children dressed for the occasion themselves, donning Thanksgiving-themed hats they made in art class.

“We’ve been calling them our little turkeys because, as you can see, they’ve been wearing their hats,” said Sheffield Elementary School Principal Kerry Heathwaite.

Heathwaite, who helped Tyler host the Turkey Trot, said the two were “super excited” to collaborate as they had in the past. Around 18 years ago, the two had worked together within the Greenfield School Department, she said.

“We just really wanted to make it a fun community event where we let them know how thankful we are to have them as our students and how grateful we are for them each and every day,” Heathwaite said of her pupils.

Organizers stressed that they hope to make the event district-wide and include middle and high school students in the future. Gill Elementary School also held a Turkey Trot of its own on Wednesday, according to Gill-Montague Superintendent Brian Beck.

For this year, though, the laughter and playful exclamations of young children controlled the field between Sheffield and Hillcrest.

“The kids look like they’re having fun,” Beck said. “It’s nice to have a handful of families that came out to watch the kids run.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-930-4231 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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