Beacon Hill Academy students, parents, and teachers run around the school during the Fiesta Run which includes being sprayed with water by local firefighters.
Beacon Hill Academy students, parents, and teachers run around the school during the Fiesta Run, which includes a shower sprayed by local firefighters. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Under a gray sky that seeped heavy humidity into the thick air, a Beacon Hill Academy parent cracked a yellow cascarone over Principal Laryn Nelson’s head, unleashing a flood of multicolored confetti.

“Yes! Yes!” Nelson exclaimed. “I needed some extra on me.”

It was 8:12 a.m. the Tuesday morning of Fiesta week. Nelson set about preparing for Beacon Hill’s largest-ever Fiesta Run, reading the instructions on a confetti cannon that would later be used to signal the start of the race.

The run is the school’s way to revel in the Fiesta season. While many campuses hold shoebox parades and dress up for the occasion, Beacon Hill physical education teacher Olga Barrientos said her school’s race provides a way for students to get active and spend time outdoors while raising money for the elementary and middle school campus just northwest of downtown.

“It’s our own way to try to promote a fitness aspect in the community and get parents and families involved,” Barrientos said.

Each of the 250 registered runners contributed a small fee that will go toward purchasing a sound system for the PE department.

As the start of the race approached, students wearing flower crowns, brightly colored ribbons, and Fiesta medals streamed out of the school’s front doors, taking their place on Ashby Place.

“I love Fiesta because there are all these pretty colors and ribbon strings and confetti,” said Scarlet, a first-grader getting ready to run. “I love cascarones. I pretty much just grab two at once and crack them!”

Nythaniel, also in first grade, at first wouldn’t admit to liking Fiesta, but later whispered that he actually loved it.

Scarlet, Nythaniel, and the rest of the students, parents, and teachers participating ran for 25 minutes around the Beacon Hill campus. What put the fun in this fun run was the presence of San Antonio Fire Department firefighters sitting atop a truck and dousing racers with water from  a firehose as they passed.

This was a special treat for her students, Barrientos said. Many of her kids reveled in the water falling over them, twirling in the showers on a hot morning.

A child leaps through the rain during the Fiesta Run.
A child leaps through the spray of water from a fire truck during the Fiesta Run. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Water and sweat matted students’ hair to their faces. The young runners were left panting and slightly damp for a group picture that concluded the race.

As Nelson cried out “Viva Fiesta!” a class of seated pre-kindergarten students rose to their feet, flinging their hands in the air, and wiggling with excitement.

“Viva Fiesta!” they shouted back.

Emily Donaldson

Emily Donaldson reports on education for the San Antonio Report.