Franklin County teachers and administrators have been building 7-foot towers, sawing through logs, loading cows onto a transport truck and completing other tasks, all while racing each other.

Teams of three from each school have been competing in a localized version of “The Amazing Race.”

Sue Rogers, assistant superintendent for Franklin County Public Schools, said the activities were created as a team-building activity leading to convocation.

“The goal was just to get adults to connect,” Rogers said. “They experienced critical thinking and problem solving.”

Teams will be introduced at convocation Aug. 5 at Franklin County High School’s auditorium, with the top three completing one final task before a winner is determined, Rogers said.

The 15 teams were divided up so that five teams competed against each other on three separate days throughout the summer.

Matt Dunbar, eighth-grade administrator at Benjamin Franklin Middle School, said the teams know how they placed on the day they competed, but not how they stacked up against teams on other days.

Rogers said she had a group of administrators who helped make the events possible along with several local businesses. “We always like to do something fun for convocation,” she said. “These events were all over Franklin County and not just in our own little area.”

For example, the race started at the school board office in Rocky Mount, but the five teams had to get to their vehicles — parked elsewhere — using only three bicycles and two golf carts among them. The teams then had to drive their vehicles to Smith Mountain Lake where a selected team member had to kayak to a specific buoy to obtain their team’s next clue/ task.

Rogers said Homestead Creamery joined in the fun by having teams choose between shoveling manure or loading a baby cow into a transport vehicle. “Most teams chose shoveling manure,” she said. Teams also had tasks at Franklin County Speedway and Ferrum College’s Blue Ridge Institute. Franklin County Parks and Recreation helped out, too.

Dunbar said there were several stops unique to Franklin County along the way where if the team members could all get their photo taken at a designated spot they could get minutes shaved off their final time.

“It was so much fun,” Dunbar said. “Initially, I knew we were going to have a good time, but it went way above and beyond my expectations.”

Dunbar’s takeaway from the activity was that his colleagues are proud to work for Franklin County Schools. “We know we are doing exciting things, and it’s cool to know that the central office was thinking of us when they put this together.”

Dunbar said seeing how teachers and administrators “genuinely like working together toward a common goal” and their excitement would make him proud to have his child attend any of the Franklin County schools.

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