Students best five other schools

For the first time in recent memory, the fifth graders at Stanley Switlik Elementary School took home top honors at the 42nd annual Cliff Allen fifth-grade track meet last Saturday. It took place at the Key West High School track and about two-dozen students took part under the direction of P.E. teacher Steve Hawes.

“It couldn’t have been possible without the generous donation from the Key West Masons,” Hawe said. “They provided the bus.”

The competition featured the best runners from six schools: Montessori Key West, Sugarloaf, Horace O’Bryant, Gerald Adams, Poinciana and Switlik.

The Middle Keys kids did exceptionally well, Hawes said, considering they practiced on the grass at recess.

“This win belongs to the entire fifth grade. While only a few of the kids were able to travel to the meet, they all pushed each other to do their best during practice. And at the event, they congratulated each other after every race. They gave each other a hug or a high five. This was like waking up from a dream. It was so fantastic.”

The Switlik students racked up seven first place medals, three second place medals and two third place medals. And the girls team won the gold in tug of war.

“They even beat our boys in practice,” Hawes said.

He singled out Lilian Guo and Jocelyn Cruz on the girls’ team and Christian Banos-Velez and Anthony Ross on the boys’ team for placing in more than one event.

Hawes was accompanied by Stanley Switlik staffer Chris Willis and a dozen helpful parent volunteers who did everything from provide T-shirts to ensure kids were present for events.

To celebrate the win, the kids went to McDonalds.

WENDY SIPE/Contributed

The fifth-graders from Stanley Switlik Elementary celebrate with their first-place trophy after the annual track meet last Saturday.

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