Gateway: Living

Purdy Elementary’s Big Truck Night continues to be a big hit

Purdy preschooler Henry Stone enjoys the feel of sitting in a Big Truck backhoe from Cannon Companies.
Purdy preschooler Henry Stone enjoys the feel of sitting in a Big Truck backhoe from Cannon Companies. Courtesy

Few things are as annoying to me as missing a chance to photograph a great show for this column. It happened Aug. 24 when, as a member of the board of Communities In Schools of Peninsula, I was already committed to our annual major FUNd-raising “Beach Party.”

At the same time, Purdy Elementary was staging another spectacular “Big Truck Night,” something I hate to miss.

Thanks to enthusiastic collaboration by Purdy Principal Kristi Rivera and members of the Big Truck Night team, Purdy PTA president Catherine Ecker, PTA member Kathleen Moloznik, Stacy Gendreau and others, we didn’t miss a beat.

Said Rivera, “We would like to thank all the supporters of Purdy’s Big Truck Night who supported our children and school. With generous support of the community and leadership of our Purdy PTA, we inspire our students and show them how much our community cares. Thank you for generous support and donations to Cannon Companies, North Harbor Dentistry, Peninsula Light, Archon Tree, Purdy Veterinary Hospital, Pantinkin Research Strategies, Gig Harbor Fire and Medic One, Gig Harbor Police, the Gig Harbor YMCA, Bricks 4 Kidz, Stand Up for Schools, and, importantly, our Purdy PTA.

“We are so fortunate to live in a caring compassionate community with deep understanding and commitment to the work of supporting and educating all children with care, equity and inspiration,” Rivera said.

Purdy second-grader Taegyn McMillen said, “Safety is important, and I like that (Gig Harbor Fire) showed me that.”

Kindergartener Ryan Davis exclaimed, “Those were really big (Canon Companies) trucks! That was fun!”

In a note, team leader Kathleen Moloznik exulted, “What a GREAT Big Truck Night and Open House for our third year running and another awesome welcome back to our teachers, staff and Purdy families! It was an extraordinary year of generosity from our financial sponsors. We raised over $3,000 for our new fifth grade class.

Good job, Catherine Ecker and your PTA team, for putting together a fun and exciting start to our 2017-2018 school year.

Purdy fifth-grader Matthew Sleeter said, “The lift trucks were great and the Peninsula Light guys were so cool and even signed my cast!”

Students and families enjoyed fidget spinners, pencils and toys compliments of Peninsula Light.

First-grader Lily Manning “liked petting the puppy dog” at the Purdy Veterinary Hospital booth.

Peninsula Lacrosse Association coach Craig Hampton, a Purdy parent, chatted with students interested in opportunities to play extracurricular youth sports with PLA.

“Lacrosse is the largest-growing sport in all of youth sports, and response from kids and families at Big Truck Night was tremendous,” he said.

Moloznik added: “It was incredible to see all our community sponsors and school supporters together with our Purdy families. Huge thanks to our 25 sponsors and supporters for participation, enthusiasm and partnerships. All helped forge a future for our students, their success, and fellowship within our community and our school.”

Purdy PTA plans to continue to grow this event with more participants and partnerships.

And I plan to be there camera in hand!

For more information, contact Purdy Elementary at 253-530-4600.

Hugh McMillan is a longtime contributing writer for the Gateway. He can be reached at