SPEEDY snails slid their way to victory yesterday as Yahl Primary School held its annual Snail Cup.
For the third consecutive year, 133 students were involved in the kid-friendly and quirky event inspired by the Melbourne Cup.
“The Melbourne Cup is an iconic race in Australia and the students all know about it,” Yahl Primary School principal Chris Morrison told The Border Watch yesterday.
“We do not want the children to watch the race if there are accidents or promote betting.
“This is our way of saying it is race day today.”
First place went to Year 1 student Imogen and Year 2 student Hannah, second place went to Year 7 student Jedda and third place went to Year 3 student Ella.
Ella originally did not have a snail ready to race, but was donated one from a fellow school friend.
“Ella was actually protesting the night before mentioning how cruel it is to take them out of their habitats,” Ella’s father Phil Mayes said.
“I think it shows the school’s morals they care about each other’s well being, reflecting it through the snail.
“I was quite surprised to hear she won third prize and was expecting a protest speech when she went up to receive her prize.”
With a developed program, the event ran smoothly throughout the day.
“The first year all students’ snails entered the race at the same time and it was quite confusing,” Ms Morrison said.
“We changed it up a bit with all classes holding separate heats, competing against each other in smaller groups.
“We have five classes with third, second and third from each class transitioning to the final race.”
Snails are put in a circle shaped race course and watched as they move out, crossing a line to become the winner.
All snails are marked in order to know which contestant wins.
Preparation is involved throughout the event with students training their snails a week before the race.
“The students have been talking about the event all year and showing keen interest,” Ms Morrison said.
“Firstly the students find themselves a snail, name it and train it.
“Some of them build amazing houses with one stable having multiple stories.”
Involving the whole school community, the event develops a different aspect of learning for the students.
“Parents and family members come along to watch the race,” Ms Morrison said.
“We talk about how to look after them with the students, how they come out of their shells and if they press too hard the shells do break.
“Some teachers have also added aspects of learning throughout the school project relating to the curriculum.”
The event features core components of learning, including science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
“We video the race live and televise it so the whole school can watch it in the library, similar to a telecast,” Ms Morrison said.
“Two of our teachers work in the Department of Education’s STEM program helping to integrate new technology throughout our school as the curriculum evolves.
“Over the next year we really hope to evolve our technology and develop our snail cup to a higher level.”
The schooling community plans to hold the snail cup throughout the upcoming years and invites members of the community to participate.