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Beyond The Finish Line -- T-N-T Trike Race

Lily Lovette and Peter Stefo--Eagle Staff Writers

As the year zooms along so do the tots in the Early Childhood Education class. On March 6th, the annual Teens-N-Tots trike race made its way to FCHS once again. 

This race is more than just for excitement as it has raised funds for a different charity each year. Last year the donations were raised for the Donna Sink Pediatric Fund. This year the St Jude Children’s Research Hospital received all proceeds. 

“Each year we select a charity or organization that benefits children and/or families. This year we were able to raise $2,500 for St Jude Children's Research Hospital,” Early Childhood Education teacher Jessica Leftwich explained.

The Tots making their grand entrance to the race. (Photo by Paige Ordway.)

Planning the trike race takes lots of time and effort. Students have to decide on the charity and theme, then they have to find sponsors, make decorations, and work out all the other details. “We begin planning months ahead of time,” Leftwich explained.

“I ruined two shirts with paint because our theme was like paint splatter. I handmade the gift bags - we ordered gifts for [the racers] but I handmade the gift bags with splatter paint. We had to come up with scripts and stuff. It's a lot more work than it looks,” Sadie Webster, a second year Early Education student explained. 

The tots also need time to prepare for the race. “We have all the tots 'train' by riding trikes in the hallway to prepare, get better and get excited,” Leftwich explained.

The T-N-T class members aren't the only ones that take time to prepare either. This year's trike race featured the FCHS Chamber Choir and the JROTC class. Many staff members and students also participated with their Eagle spirit along the sidelines. Leftwich said, “We try to involve not only the other high school classes that sponsor, but other groups on campus as well.” 

Spider-Man and Tots watching from the sidelines. (Courtesy Photo)

The race itself was action packed and filled with excitement. The sponsor classes cheered on their tots and Spider-Man himself made an appearance. The race does more than just let the kids have fun; it also helps with their development. “It helps physical, specifically gross motor development because they are riding trikes,” Leftwich explains.

This race also holds a more emotional place in the hearts of many students and staff, mainly because of the racers themselves.  “I think some of us need the kids a little more than they need us. You can literally have the worst day ever and as soon as you walk through that door it's one thing, whether it's them aggressively banging the cymbals together and [they're] just like 'good morning!' or it's like one of them just looking at you and [saying] 'oh you're so pretty!' You can literally have the worst day ever but as soon as you walk into that classroom none of your problems matter anymore (...) These kids have my entire heart and more and they don't even know it,” Webster commented. 

The Tots Trike N' Trot their way to the finish line. (Photo by Paige Ordway.)

“This program holds a special place in my heart. I was a teen teacher when I was in high school and I actually took over the program from my mother, Ms.Serena Jamison, who was director for over ten years before I began. I love how the tots learn and prepare for the next stage,” Leftwich continued. 

These races always seem to leave FCHS looking forward to next year. “The bonds they form are priceless. I always say I get the best of both worlds - big and little!” Leftwich exclaimed.

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