Record Breaking Funds Raised for MLE with Mustangs on the Move

Each fall Murray Lake Elementary (MLE) holds an annual fundraiser called Mustangs on the Move. This pledge-driven fundraiser has students learning about health and wellness throughout the week and the event concludes with a walk. This year the school raised more money than it has in the past. With a goal of $14,000, the final tally was almost tripled with a final tally of $41,000 raised. MLE students held their walkathon last week on Friday, September 23.

On the Move Since 2011

Laura Judge has been a parent at MLE for 10 years and is currently the building’s Library Media Assistant. She also recently teamed up with Kristin Triplett to co-chair Mustangs on the Move, and this was her ninth year helping facilitate the event in some way. The committee that organizes the walkathon begins working on the event in January each year. Community sponsorships are sought and activities throughout the week are planned. T-shirts are also designed and ordered during the planning phase.

“Seeing everything come together during the week of Health Week and the Walkathon makes it all worthwhile,” comments Judge. “I am grateful for the ladies who started it many years ago– they set the groundwork to follow year after year. Volunteering for the committee is rewarding and a lot of fun–knowing we are helping impact our school is the most important.”

Students earned tickets for the dollar amount they raised. These tickets could then be entered into a raffle for a variety of prizes. Some of the bigger items included an American Girl Doll, tickets to Berlin Raceway, autographed photo of a Detroit Tiger, tickets to Celebration Cinema, and Whitecaps tickets.

MLE has around 430 students. They all participate in the week’s activities and are asked to bring in pledged money to help raise funds for the school. Last year was a record-breaking year with students raising $36,000, however, the bar was raised again this year. Students raised over $41,000 and the event committee raise over $7,200 from company sponsorships. Sponsorship money was used to pay for t-shirts, prizes, and items needed for the walk itself.

“I think it’s important because this event includes a lot of team building and class building. Classes pick a theme and make props/dress up,” notes building principal, Molly Burnett. “Classes are awarded for best banner and most spirited. It’s super fun and kids get closer as a class because they come together to support a great cause.”

Laura Judge helped hand out a healthy snack.

Healthy Week of Activities

During the week leading up to the walkathon, students participate in healthy activities. One afternoon a Zumba instructor came in while another afternoon a Yoga instructor taught students. Two days during the week healthy snacks are provided. This year students had fruit smoothies and veggies with hummus another day.

Friday’s big walkathon day starts with an all-school assembly. The total amount of money raised is revealed and as each class exits the gym a photo is taken with their class banner. 

Volunteers set up a course around the outside of the school for students to walk or run. The course is created using spray paint and chalk to help direct students and staff. Music plays throughout the walkathon and as classes finish they’re able to then play on the playground. 

Once all classes have finished the walkathon they gather for a final assembly. Prizes are then handed out for things including the top two earners in each grade, top earning class, raffle prizes, Most Spirited Banner, and Best Banner. 

Finally, Burnett was turned into a human sundae because students not only reached their goal but crushed it. Burnett was doused with five bottles of chocolate syrup, four bottles of caramel syrup, marshmallows, cherries, sprinkles, and more.

Putting Funds to Use

Each year 100% of the money students raise goes directly to the school. Money from this year’s event will fund programs such as Field Day, Learning Fair, Odyssey of the Mind, and Salmon in the Classroom. Some of the money also helps pay for technology in the classroom, field trip bussing, and other events. 

Burnett thanks the MLE Family Links/PTO for organizing the event each year. She recognizes without them the event would not be possible. She acknowledges all of the hard work and teamwork the committee puts into Mustangs on the Move. 

When asked why she thought this year was such a great year for donations, Burnett said, “I think social media really helps spread the word. We also used an online website for donations which makes it easier to donate.  I think our school community is so strong that people feel the need to help support their teachers and school.”

While Mustangs on the Move has ended for another year, the effects of the event will be felt throughout the school year as the money raised will touch every classroom and each student in some way.

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