Kindy 500 for June 3 school page

REENFIELD — There might have been no engines to start like at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but kindergartners at McCordsville Elementary School were just as revved up during their school’s inaugural running of the Kindy 500.

The event, which saw more than 100 young students decorate cardboard boxes like cars and then race, was much like the real thing; there were crashes and cheers from an enthusiastic crowd as winners crossed the finish line.

In an attempt to make the race more authentic, the young winner was even handed a bottle of cold milk to chug.

Carson Jutte, 6, fought hard for his win. As he crossed the finish line, his face was filled with excitement, and he gleefully took a giant swig of the drink when it was handed to him by 500 Festival Princess Madeline May. He proudly wore his lei and waved his golden trophy around for all to see.

“I feel pretty good right now,” Carson said shortly after he crossed the finish line. “I’m going to put this trophy in my room.”

All five kindergarten classes participated in the event.

“This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” May said. “If you saw their faces, you would think this was real life.”

School officials said the Indianapolis 500-inspired event was just an exciting way for the children to end the school year.

Students were sent home with a cardboard box more than three weeks ago, kindergarten teacher Courtney Treon said. Their only assignment was to design and decorate it any way they wished — and the students listened. As they made their way into the gymnasium Thursday, cars of all kinds could be seen, including Batmobiles, tow trucks, and Barbie pink, streamer-lined box cars.

What resulted was a spirited event that allowed students to let off steam.

“We wanted to do something with these students that was more than just a picnic,” Treon said. “This was an event all about having fun.”

While each student was given the chance to race, not all won ribbons. That was something that kindergartner Greer Stamper, 6, planned to do something about.

“I had fun and was happy that I at least got a yellow ribbon, so I’m going to make copies of my ribbon for my friends who didn’t get the excitement of winning,” she said.

Greer said she thought that everyone should at least get a participation ribbon or an award for another talent.

“Everyone is a winner, and everyone is good at something,” Greer said. “Like Sophia is the best at going the slowest. And she’s good at crafting. I’ll make sure she gets a ribbon, too.”