Last week’s walk-a-thon helped raise money for education where 100% of the funds raised by students goes directly to their school. Put on by the Bushnell/Cherry Creek PTO, scores of volunteers helped make the week long event a success. The pledges raised at each building will go toward field trip busing, classroom needs, educational assemblies, field days, and more. With two buildings housing elementary students the PTO has the unique situation of essentially putting on the same events twice throughout the week.
Help from Businesses
Each year local establishments are asked if they have an interest sponsoring the event with a monetary contribution or donation of an item to be raffled off to students who raise money. Jo Salgat is the event coordinator, her fifth year in this position. She sends letters to businesses providing information about the event, some of which have made a contribution each year. Due to the generosity of businesses and destinations across the state hundreds of prizes were handed out at an assembly after each school participated in their walk.
Sponsorship from businesses allows the PTO to use that money to purchase additional prizes to those donated so all pledge money received is dedicated to students. The funds from businesses also goes toward paying for a special assembly for the kids after they complete their walk.
Help from Volunteers
The week of the walk-a-thon Salgat delegates jobs including ticket writing, counting money, fitness days, and healthy snacks, to other volunteers. Every day of the week the PTO room at Cherry Creek Elementary is buzzing with behind the scenes activity. Michele Stauffer, Amanda Rogers, Michelle Scheadig, and Wendy Vriesman took on leadership roles in designated areas guiding other parent volunteers.
Two days during the week each school had a fitness and snack day promoting a healthy lifestyle. One of the snacks this year was hummus with carrots and grape tomatoes. Kids were given the chance to try something potentially new to their palate. Some came back for seconds, thirds, and fourths!
One of the fitness days was a dance. Erin Walters, Bushnell Principal, and Shelli Otten, Cherry Creek Principal took their moves to the roof. Students were encouraged to join their leader as she danced to popular dance music.
Other behind the scenes operations made the week’s events a success and smooth appearance to teachers, students, and parents. A team set up and took down the course where students walked Friday morning and afternoon. Money was collected from each room every morning for four days without much notice. Snacks were prepared and handed out during fitness activities. Over 80 volunteers helped make walk-a-thon week an experience of fun, learning, and more for all involved.
Students were asked to find friends and relatives willing to pledge money for their walk. For each $25 a student raised he or she received a ticket used to enter a raffle drawing for various prizes. If a student collected $100 or more the tickets turn golden and could be used for a chance to win a bigger prize. Some of this year’s golden ticket prizes included a one night stay at Soaring Eagle Waterpark, a night stay at Drury Inn, an iPad Mini, and a Leap Pad. Hundreds of prizes were given out between the two elementary schools.
Non-golden ticket prizes included tickets to a Central Michigan University football game, an annual pass to Potter Park Zoo, passes to Catch Air, Meijer gift cards, various sports camps, and swimming at Goldfish Swim School. Each student who brought in a pledge, regardless of amount, also had a chance to win a smaller prize. After winners for the larger prizes were selected all remaining tickets were put in a bucket with names of those who collected less than $25. Winners were drawn from this large pool for items including a Little Caesars gift card, pogo sticks, scooters, backpacks, and principal for the morning.
Teachers also played a role in getting their students excited and involved. Each day’s tally was shared via email and on Facebook. The teacher at each building of the class with the most collected in pledges won a special basket filled with prizes. Friendly competition between classrooms helped both schools to exceed their building goal.
Bushnell Elementary raised nearly $9,000 and Cherry Creek Elementary received close to $14,000 in pledges, both more than $1,000 over their goal. Mrs. Wilson’s Kindergarten class raised $1,355 to take the top spot among classes at Bushnell while $1,347 was the amount needed by Mrs. Beaufait’s 3rd Grade class at Cherry Creek for the same honor. Both classes will have the opportunity to participate in a special parfait and art project sometime next month. The top individual fundraisers from each school were Kyle Rapson, Bentley Smith, Sophia Wiley, Landon Dryan, Nathaniel Wiedyk, and Lindsey Cramer (Bushnell) and Allison Videan, Wyatt Yantz, Vada Schenk, Madeline Miller, Chloe VanGorp, Connor Rapson, Marissa Miller, Parker Salgat, Hayden Videan, Denton Starkweather, Sophia Dommer, and Jackson Scheadig (Cherry Creek).
The Big Day
Friday, October 7 both schools had 60-90 minutes to walk or run on a course in a field between Bushnell Elementary and Lowell Middle School where parents and grandparents along with volunteers cheered on the participants. In the morning Bushnell’s Kindergarten and 1st Grade took to the field with each class carrying a sign which represented them as a team. Music was playing. A huge inflatable dinosaur towered over the field. The Riverwalk duck and Brann’s mascot cheered on the kids throughout the morning. And the weather was perfect.
The afternoon walk was comprised of 2nd Grade through 5th Grade students from Cherry Creek. These students got in some extra exercise as they walked from their school to the event location and back to school after completing laps around the field. The Middle School Band was also present to greet students as they entered the course.
Each school also had a special assembly following their walk. Jim “Basketball” Jones was the guest who captivated the audience young and old. He entertained with basketball tricks and also taught students valuable lessons in trying, helping others, being kind, and building each other up rather than tearing down. The excitement continued as prizes were handed out to winners at the end of the gathering.
Jo Salgat reflects, “The walk-a-thon helps create a sense of unity and community within our buildings. The students love our fitness days and healthy snacks. All week the building is abuzz with excitement. We are all working together to help support the extras in schools.” With over $20,000 raised between the two schools all those involved can be proud of this accomplishment. Together students, parents, teachers, principals, businesses, and volunteers ensured educational efforts will be seen in Bushnell Elementary and Cherry Creek Elementary throughout the school year.
The biggest fundraising event complete but help is always needed. Parent volunteers help the PTO throughout the year with conference meals, Secret Santa shops, rollerskating nights, book fairs, a spring carnival, popcorn sales, and more. If you’re interested in lending a hand and becoming involved visit the Bushnell/Cherry Creek PTO Facebook page for their latest updates. Their next meeting is Tuesday, October 18 at 9am in the PTO room at Cherry Creek Elementary School.