In a mad scramble that lasted less than a minute, 500 Keyes Elementary School students on Friday picked the school track clean of $900 in quarters dropped there by a generous community member who also seeded the track with red beans redeemable for $2,000 in field trips.
Friday morning's school gathering for kindergartners through fifth-graders was Wesley Green's way of adding fun and excitement to the mere writing of a $2,000 check for a school donation to. Green pulled off the fun with the help of business partners, friends and family members.
Green, a lifelong Keyes resident who is a local motocross racer, local builder and a member of the Keyes School Site Council, decided to make a donation after learning that field trip money had run low for the 2013-14 school year. As owners of Green's General Contracting, Wesley and brother Seth Green decided to conduct a giveaway similar to one he sees done for kids on a local racetrack. Donating cash and prizes for the event were two sponsors, Honda Kawasaki of Modesto and AMP Racing of Turlock.
Students assembled on the field at 9:30 a.m. as the team sprinkled the quarters from a wheelbarrow along the track along with the beans. Once given the go-ahead, the students ran to the track to pick up and keep the quarters. They turned in the beans for 50 cents toward field trips for their grade level.
"This is absolutely fabulous," said Principal Karen Redfield. "My heart is like ‘wow'!"
Students who picked up five JFK half-dollars painted red were given a bicycle and one lucky student, Luna Monroy, picked up a red Eisenhower dollar that made her owner of a black piggy bank filled with $200 in coinage.
T-shirts were also planted along the track on a first-grab, first-to-keep basis.
Green said Keyes School field trips are paid for by ASB fundraisers and parent contributions of $40 per student but that the fund hasn't been high enough to cover the costs of busing the kids to places like the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
"It's a year-to-year survival," agreed Redfield.
The donation will help ensure students will go on memorable and educational trips.
Redfield complimented Green as one of the most positive advocates for the school than she has seen since becoming principal two years ago.
Green, 47, races motocross bikes and is training for MMA fighting and admits that he is a bit of a glutton for punishment. He plans to return to the school next year to enlarge the giveaway.