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Ford column: Field day caps year at Koontz

Among the many emotional events surrounding the last week of elementary school, one stands as the most anticipated, the most hallowed, the most revered.
Field Day.
After months of books and lessons and worksheets, after stay in your seat and don’t run in the halls and go pull a slip, and especially, most definitely after end-of-grade tests, kids deserve Field Day.
Koontz Elementary put on a fabulous one this year.
Koontz had old-fashioned games like the three-legged race and tug-of-war, and the kids loved them just as much as the huge inflatable slides.
The classes rotated through a dozen stations. They played beach volleyball, beanbag toss and jump the creek, leaping over two jump ropes that kept getting farther apart.
They played super soaker, running with a big sponge to a baby pool, dunking the sponge, then running back and squeezing the water into a bucket. The team with the most water after 12 minutes won.
Unfortunately, just as the air horn blew, one dedicated player slid into his team’s bucket as he raced back from the baby pool, dumping its precious contents.
That’s OK. Everyone’s a winner at Field Day.
As required for all successful field days, the temperature soared into the 90s. For a break from the heat, the kids went inside for one station, where they had to sit on scooters and push themselves backward across the gym floor using only their feet.
The cuteness nearly overwhelmed parents and grandparents who watched.
The hardest part of organizing the water balloon toss wasn’t preventing the kids from breaking the balloons even before the first throw.
It was getting them to form two parallel lines, facing each other.
Once we finally had the kids lined up, we handed out balloons. On the whistle, the kids tossed them gently to their partners, who then took a small step backward and held the balloons until the whistle blew again.
Well, that’s how it was supposed to go.
Convincing some of these kids to hold their balloon for the whistle was like asking them to wait upstairs on Christmas morning for their siblings to wake up.
By the end of the game, everyone was wet and happy.Some classes decorated T-shirts to wear at Field Day. Ms. Hockenberry’s students had classic tie-dyes, while Ms. Bumgarner’s shirts featured the Koontz panther.
My favorite shirt, of course, depicted the “Benfield Clan,” Nellie’s class. Our artistic daughter did not miss the chance to put incredible detail into this project.The students placed a thumbprint on the shirt for each kid in their class. Then, they decorated these “faces.”
Nellie put her thumbprints in the shape of a star. She gave each of her classmates a distinguishing feature, like John Louis’ wild hair and Nakyia’s braids and beads.Some of Nellie’s thumbprints even talk, saying things like “Ewww” (Sandra, who hates anything yucky) and “2 divided by 3,” (Elijah, who is good at math).
Rahiem’s thumbprint says, “Sup?”
Clara attended Field Day with me. She will go to kindergarten at Koontz in the fall.
She says she’s ready. She took a turn down the huge inflatable slide, just to make sure.
Emily Ford covers the N.C. Research Campus.

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