The Alvin ISD Education Foundation hosted the 20th Annual Turtle Race on Saturday, Feb. 8, at National Oak Park in Alvin.
For months now, community members, parents, students and AISD staff have been paying $5 to ‘adopt’ a plastic turtle.
On the day of the race, the turtles were taken to Mustang Bayou and dropped from the bridge along the Tom Blakeney Hike and Bike Trail.
The turtles ‘raced’ down the bayou to the finish line near the bridge on Adoue St. The winning turtles were then scooped out.
All told, almost 13,500 turtles were ‘adopted’ this year. The adoption fees raised more than $90,000 for AISD schools.
“All the proceeds stay in the community,” Jody Droege, an education foundation board member, said. “The money raised is used to fund grants and scholarships.”
Two of the grants funded by the Turtle Race are Innovative Teaching Grants and Campus Grants.
“Innovative Teaching Grants pay for things that aren’t covered by other grants or the budget,” Sheila Olson, executive director of the education foundation, said.
Along with raising money for the schools, the Turtle Race also provides incentives for participation.
This year’s first place winner, Mayra Martinez, received a travel voucher valued at $1,500 sponsored by Stantec.
Second place prize was a $1,000 shopping spree sponsored by Gulf Coast Educators Federal Credit Union. Vicki Lococo took home second place this year.
The third place finisher received a $500 gift card sponsored by Scot Bryant-Horace Mann. Third place went to Noah Joseph.
The Turtle Race isn’t the only activity that occurs on race day.
The 7thAnnual Kids 1K Fun Run/Walk and the annual 5K Family Fun Run/Walk were also held this year.
Although there were two races, only the 5K was certified as a timed race.
This year the overall female winner was Miranda Hernandez, 17. Hernandez ran the course in 21:50.3. The overall male winner was Julio Ramirez, 19. Ramirez clocked an 18:21 time.
Along with the fun-runs, the turtle race has become something of a small festival. The crowd has attracted various types of vendors and performers to the park.
The bouncy house, portable mini golf and the concessions also proved to be a hit with the crowd.
“We had fun this year,” area resident Nikki Stafford said, as she and her daughter Ella munched on corn dogs. “We wish we would have won, but all the money goes to a good cause.”
“And we got to eat funnel cakes too,” Ella added.