Spring Fling draws a nostalgic crowd

PTC sponsors the final race and carnival-style event at the original Crooked River Elementary

HOLLY SCHOLZ - Crooked River Elementary School Principal Cheri Rasmussen points out to students Eddie and Harmony Siers that their Frisbee is OSU Beavers gear. Thursday was the final CRE Spring Fling and Fun Run at the historic school. Fun Run participants each got a sack full of prizes, including OSU Frisbees, much to Rasmussen's liking.

The cool morning breeze turned into a warm, sunny afternoon last Thursday — perfect weather for the final Crooked River Elementary School Annual Spring Fling and Fun Run held at the historic campus.

“I don’t like to think about these events being the last of the original Crooked River,” CRE Principal Cheri Rasmussen admitted. But, she had her usual smiles and hugs for her students.

“I love children of all ages! It is so fun to watch students have huge smiles on their faces, laugh, play hard and enjoy themselves so much,” Rasmussen said of the event. “It is equally fun to visit and laugh with family members and see them enjoy themselves, also!”

The CRE Parent Teacher Committee-sponsored event drew a large crowd from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday in the CRE field and included multiple bounce houses, snow cones, popcorn, nachos, a visit from “Frozen” characters and the 1.5-mile Fun Run, which began at 5 p.m.

AJ Pickhardt and Erin Woodward, “amazing” CRE PE teachers, started the Crooked River Cougar Run Club 10 years ago Rasmussen said. Students run or walk two days per week during their lunch recess. They earn personal awards for specific distances and class awards for total miles run. The grand finale is the Crooked River Fun Run at the end of the year.

“It has always been touted as a family event because we believe so strongly in family participation at our school,” Rasmussen said.

Several years ago, the Parent Teacher Committee thought it would be fun to bring in bouncy houses to give Crooked River students a reward for being such great kids, she added.

“We decided to combine the two events so one event could support the other and families could enjoy the Fun Run and bouncy houses in one evening,” Rasmussen said. “We are super family oriented and want family members to have opportunities at our school to support their children academically as well as socially,” she pointed out.

During the carnival-type event, PTC members sold T-shirts that pay homage to CRE’s 77-year history while others served snacks and sold tickets.

Elsewhere, second-grader Takara Rich helped her family pick out plants from the Cooltown Garden Store. She had helped plant the seedling vegetables with her teacher, Karen Bryant, as part of their gardening Storyline. Funds earned from the sales are used for soil and seeds for next year’s projects.

Across the way, CRE fifth-graders John Beard and Evan Derrick completed the Fun Run and received their race bags, which had a water bottle, pencil, stickers, Frisbee and paddle-ball.

Approximately 380 people participated in the $2 Fun Run, which Rasmussen said is about average. All proceeds support the Cougar Club.

“It was a much bigger crowd at the bouncy houses than ever before,” Rasmussen said. “We do not count those participants, but the lines were much longer than I have ever seen.”

Students, families and staff say they are sad that the historic Crooked River building will no longer house elementary school students, but some are eager for their new digs.

“Although many of us will miss being in this school due to its age, charm, history, character, etc., we plan on making the new Crooked River just as welcoming and successful as the original Crooked River was, is and always will be,” Rasmussen said.