Jan Dorl wrestles with her turkey costume toward the end of the race.

On Nov. 17, Marathon teachers and students had a little fun to celebrate positive behavior during November. Teachers volunteered to don inflatable turkey costumes and students signed up to compete in a 400-meter dash around the track. Taking age and agility into consideration, the sage staff members were given a head start in the race. With the entire school watching, the students, clad in chef hats and aprons, took off in chase of their teachers. 

Middle school student Alex Stuart was able to pass the entire flock of teachers, though Mary Coleman-Sayer gave him a run for his money. Coleman-Sayer, last year’s Best of Marathon Teacher of the Year, trotted in for the staff win, but was overtaken by Stuart in the final stretch. Stuart’s fantastic finish won a donut party for the class he represented in the race, making his accomplishment all the more exciting for the fans. 

In the high school race, the teachers used their well-earned wisdom to their advantage, inching toward the finish prior to the race starting to expand their lead. The fowl tactic worked as Kelley Cruz was able to cruise to a first place win with Haley Townsend at her heels. Notable for the high school student competitors was Carlos Lezcano, who used his blazing speed to close the sizable gap and create a photo finish. 

The event was part of Marathon’s PBIS initiative. PBIS, which stands for Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports, is used to support students’ behavioral, academic, social and emotional health. It is used to help create a positive and fun environment at school in which everyone feels safe and has a sense of belonging. The staff and students are already looking forward to Turkey Bowl 2024, and plans are in the works for more fun events to reward good behavior, including Twelve Days of PBIS for December and a “snowball” fight in January, which will pit classes against one another for the opportunity to take on the teachers in a friendly game of dodgeball. 

Tracy McDonald fled to the Keys from the frozen mountains of Pennsylvania hours after graduating from college and never looked back. She is a second generation coach and educator, and has taught in the public school system for over 25 years. She and her husband met at a beginning teacher meeting in 1997 and have three children born and raised in Monroe County. In her free time, McDonald loves flea markets, historical fiction and long runs in the heat.