MEDINA — “Run, Forrest, run,” the crowd shouted Monday from the shore of Forest Meadows Lake as Team Jenny members paddled their makeshift boat.
“Speed it up, speed it up,” the group urged.
But Team Jenny, unlike the fictional Forrest Gump, didn’t win this race, which would have been a birthday prize for member George Ludwiczak, who turned 16 on Monday.
Jenny was among 28 teams that participated in the sixth annual Medina High School Junk Boat Float.
Besides Ludwiczak, a sophomore, the team included his sister, Tabitha, 17, a senior, and sophomore Michael Hamula, 16, aka Lt. Dan. All sported red Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. T-shirts and hats.
For the second year in a row, the Boatily Floatily team composed of seniors Nolan Andrasik, Zach Robertson and Jake Wickert was the Junk Boat Float champion.
Laura Frawley, a biology and environmental science teacher at Medina High, said teams composed of two or three members fashioned their boats out of plastic bottles, duct tape and other materials and paid $36 to compete in Monday’s races.
Proceeds have been used to build bottle-filling stations at Medina schools and the public restroom on Public Square. Filling stations are at the high school, and Ralph E. Waite, Sidney Fenn and Garfield elementary schools, she said, and proceeds from this year will fund stations at A.I. Root and Claggett middle schools.
Although a fun event for the students, who “love it,” Frawley said, it also brings awareness to the environment and “our global crisis.”
She estimated, at last count, the filling stations have spared the environment 80,000 plastic water bottles.
Frawley noted that materials to build the junk boats are later recycled.
Between races, students could enjoy lunch provided by Longhorn Steakhouse.
Team Jenny members ate their lunch while they tinkered on their boat.
“It kept falling apart,” Tabitha Ludwiczak said.