DOWNERS GROVE – Belle Aire Elementary School in Downers Grove celebrated its 50th birthday Oct. 6 with the annual Belle Aire Fun Run with hundreds of people in attendance for the event.
Belle Aire, 3935 Belle Aire Lane, and El Sierra Elementary School, 6835 Fairmount Ave., are both celebrating their 50th anniversaries.
Megan Hewitt, community relations coordinator for Downers Grove Grade School District 58, said the two schools are the youngest in the district.
Hewitt added that it’s gratifying to see milestones anniversaries be reached and that it added to the celebratory nature of the Fun Run.
“It’s an extra special event this year,” Hewitt said. “The Fun Run is an opportunity to get the Belle Aire community together and raise money for their school initiatives."
The event was put on by the Belle Aire PTA, a group of volunteers who were not paid for their time. PTA member Gloria Greuel said these volunteers make things happen, and their dedication is something she believes is truly remarkable.
In addition to parent volunteers, Greuel said many teachers also volunteered their time to help bring the event together.
“It’s so wonderful we live in a community willing to donate their time like that,” Greuel said.
With sponsors Gus Realty, Raising Cane's and Jay’s Plumbing, the event had many interactive tents, Greuel said. This provided attendees not interested in running an opportunity to get involved, she said.
With 190 registered runners and many more showing up for activities, Greuel said the turnout was incredible. District 58 Superintendent Kevin Russell was among those in attendance. Greuel added that the Jessie White Tumblers were an exciting addition and possibly the highlight of the event.
“You know, it rained all night, but today we had a dry day with the sun shining for our event,” Greuel said. “My favorite thing is that it didn’t rain.”
Greuel said the first-, second- and third-place winners of the run were all children, something she thought was truly special.
“There’s nothing like this genuine, pure excitement that follows events like this,” Greuel said. “I’m still coming down from it, from that unadulterated joy.”