St. Anthony Park Elementary School kids have been treated to root beer floats on the last day of school for the last nine years. Photos by Kristal Leebrick

St. Anthony Park Elementary School kids have been treated to root beer floats on the last day of school for the last nine years. Photos by Kristal Leebrick

There’s not much quite like a cold root beer float on a 90-plus-degree day in June to mark the last day of school.

For nine years, students at St. Anthony Park Elementary School have been treated with a free float at Tim & Tom’s Speedy Market, thanks to the benevolence of Jane Hakensen, a former student at the school. When the bell rang at 3 o’clock June 9, a mass of kindergarteners to fifth-graders—with parents and younger siblings in tow—headed up Como Avenue to the parking lot at Speedy Market where they found Amy Pletch, Amy Williams, Donna and Pete Lanphear, Hakensen and Speedy manager Jesse Ross scooping ice cream and filling glasses..

Three-year-old-SAP-student-in-waiting Mary Grace Lindsley

Three-year-old-SAP-student-in-waiting Mary Grace Lindsley

Hakensen provides the ice cream and root beer. Speedy supplies the rest, including the space in the store parking lot to hold the teeming crowd of parents and students.

Hakensen, who grew up in St. Anthony Park and was a member of the first sixth-grade class at the elementary school when it first opened, launched the tradition after hearing neighborhood kids lament the 2007 closing of Gingko’s Coffee Shop, which had been across the street from Speedy. Elementary families had made it a tradition to stop at Gingko’s on the last day of school for ice cream.

So how much root beer and ice cream does it take to feed the masses? Hakensen shrugged and says she’s never kept track, as she eyes a couple of taller kids waiting for their treat. “You Murray kids?” she asks. They nod. “You need to wait until all the SAP kids get their floats.”

The root beer team: Amy Pletch, Donna Lanphear, Amy Williams, Pete Lanphear, Jane Hakensen and Jesse Ross

The root beer team: Amy Pletch, Donna Lanphear, Amy Williams, Pete Lanphear, Jane Hakensen and Jesse Ross

Then, about a half-hour later, the tall kids—most of whom are recent alums of the elementary school down the street—get their floats.—

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