Arroyo Vista | Golden Shoe Adventure Brings the Fun (and Run) for Families

Weekend fundraiser shows Wildcat spirit and community involvement, brought to you by the kids and parents of Arroyo Vista Elementary

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Families make it to the finish line at Arroyo Vista Elementary where they are greeted by the Golden Shoe itself and ice creams as rewards for a job well done

Kids and their families got to run, jumping jack, walk, bike and more all over South Pasadena during a fun (and sun) filled weekend last Saturday and Sunday, as onlookers saw the city come alive. For anyone curious as to why the streets were packed with more exuberance than usual (thanks much in part to the seemingly endless supply provided by kids), it can be linked to the Arroyo Vista PTA, who hosted the ‘AV Golden Shoe Adventure’.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure kicking off at the SPUSD building with a dance party with AV mascot, Whiskers the Wildcat and Principal Kim Sinclair

In lieu of the annual Jog-a-thon traditionally held on the school’s campus, the scope took a drastic but welcome turn as organizers had to reconceptualize a COVID-safe alternative, where social distancing and masks were mandatory. So came the idea for a city-wide scavenger hunt involving the school, student families and local businesses. Jumping between 15 different locations, participants gathered clues to piece together, coming ever closer to the ultimate goal of finding the enigmatic ‘Golden Shoe’.

While fun was the top priority, equally important was the goal to raise money for the school. Pledges and donations were gathered in the weeks leading up to the school’s biggest annual fundraiser, with palpable excitement from students for the big day. “We had a kindergartner who asked his parents everyday for two weeks when the Golden Shoe was,” says Jennifer Wang, one of the event co-chairs, working alongside fellow co-chairs Keri Tuazon and Stella Jang. She was surprised to hear that the student “thought an ad on the radio was for (it)… his parents said it was like his Superbowl!”

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PHOTO: Provided by Jennifer Wang | SouthPasadenan.com News | Co-Chairs (L-R): Keri Tuazon, Jennifer Wang, and Stella Jang

Student endeavors did not go unrewarded either as the top prize, the “Golden Shoe” trophy, would be given to classes from each grade with the highest per student average based on four qualifications: number of locations completed, number of pledges turned in, most money raised, and most AV spirit during the adventure. Additionally, special medals were given to individual students who raised the most money and pledges.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure stop at Hotbox Vintage
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure stop at the Dinosaur Farm

Pit stops at popular shops also saw some families bringing appetites and patronage, from cafes to toy stores like Jones Coffee Roasters and the Dinosaur Farm. “In addition to providing a special activity for the AV families to enjoy, the AV PTA wanted to highlight and support some of the small businesses in our lovely city of South Pasadena,” says Wang.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AVPTA member and co-chair Jennifer Wang with Whiskers
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure kicking off at the SPUSD building with a dance party with AV mascot, Whiskers the Wildcat
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure kicking off at the SPUSD building with a dance party with AV mascot, Whiskers the Wildcat

The route — which took about 1-2 hours, depending on the pace — guided students through sets of challenges at some locations, the first of which being a chance to show off dance moves with AV mascot Whiskers and Principal Kim Sinclair at the SPUSD district office. QR codes at locations commenced and continued the adventure, as each scan revealed special video messages containing clues created by beloved AV faculty: Christine Malach, Helena Yee, Julie Littlefield, Brian Jehue, Rich Fiedler, Kyle Bender, Jillian Jones, Heather Jara, Laura Ishibashi, Reina Rogers, Lisa Clark, Sharon Reed, Ann Davis-Martinez and Principal Kim Sinclair, AV Staff Anthony Ross, and AV Mascot Whiskers.

Blazing the Golden Shoe trail took Wildcats to landmarks that included:

  • Nicole’s Market
  • The Library Tree
  • Berry Opera
  • Dinosaur Farm
  • Hotbox Vintage
  • Square Deal Barbers
  • Munch Co.
  • The Red Shoe
  • Jones Coffee Roasters
  • Teamorrow
  • The Walking Man at the Metro Goldline Station
  • Retreat
  • and Orange Grove Park

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure stop at Square Deal Barber Shop
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Jumping jacks were one of the challenges for Wildcats at the Library Tree
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure stop at Berry Opera
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure stop at Hotbox Vintage
PHOTO: Provided by Jennifer Wang | SouthPasadenan.com News | Kids performing high-knee exercises at the Walking Man AV Golden Shoe Adventure stop
PHOTO: Provided by Jennifer Wang | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure stop at Orange Grove Park
PHOTO: Provided by Jennifer Wang | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV families viewing a video clue after scanning a QR code at Jones Coffee Roasters

Xochipilli Castro, a parent and volunteer overseeing the Library Tree check-in station, encouraged kids — and sometimes parents — as they powered through sets of 20 jumping jacks. “I grew up in South Pasadena (and) my daughter goes to school here. So I’m just so excited and proud to be representing the school and also promoting activity,” she told the South Pasadenan News, adding that it was motivating to see parents “get in there and move along with the(ir) kids.”

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | AV Golden Shoe Adventure stop at Nicole’s
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Scanning for clues at the Library Tree during the AV Golden Shoe Adventure

“I loved seeing the kiddos jumping with joy with their parents and friends when they found Hotbox searching for their next clue!” said Delilah Rabina of HotBox Vintage, where kids played in the parking lot as some parents perused iconic, timeless fashions. “It was great to see families exploring the city together and enjoying the perfect first day of spring. It was beautiful!”

When all was said and done, a total of 331 AV student participants were counted, though accounting for siblings, parents, grandparents, and friends, Wang says the number of overall participants was “most likely over 800.” 4,634 QR codes were scanned as well, showing great engagement, while 6,620 jumping jacks were completed and 662 total miles were walked.

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Families make it to the finish line at Arroyo Vista Elementary where they are greeted by the Golden Shoe itself and ice creams as rewards for a job well done

With the finish line in sight, a big sign planted on the front lawn of Arroyo Vista Elementary congratulated the intrepid Wildcats for finishing their journey while refreshing popsicles were handed out as rewards by volunteers Cindy Shin and Jennifer Koca, with co-chair Jang. The Golden Shoe, a giant balloon sculpture created by South Pasadena’s very own Ballusionist was the centerpiece for many a photo op. Jang, who is also a parent at Arroyo Vista, found that families responded very well to the large-scale event, perhaps even more so than the school’s annual Jog-a-Thon, leading to the PTA’s consideration to make Golden Shoe the new annual fundraiser. Admiring the commitment and spirit from families, the trio said, “We hope you had a great time, thank you for supporting the school! (We) really feel like AV has such good families and teachers who participate and just are always involved in events like this. Thank you to all the families!”

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Families make it to the finish line at Arroyo Vista Elementary where they are greeted by the Golden Shoe itself and ice creams as rewards for a job well done
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | Cindy Shin, Stella Jang, and Jennifer Koca
PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | SouthPasadenan.com News | The coveted Golden Shoe, created by the one and only, Ballusionist

Eric Fabbro is a South Pasadenan whose family goes back to the 1950's. He graduated SPHS 2008, and Art Center College of Design in 2014. His versatile skill-set includes illustration, digital media, graphic design & photography. Eric is the in-house illustrator for The South Pasadenan, and the creator of our South Pasadenan icon logo. His work has been shown in galleries throughout the Los Angeles area.