BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – There was cheering and walking, some running and even some dancing as elementary students from Fort Madison schools held a Walk-A-Thon Wednesday at Richmond Stadium.
The event was part of an annual charitable effort to raise money for the Lincoln Elementary Parent Teacher Group and the Richardson Elementary Parent Teacher Organization. According to Matt Rump, who emceed the event and is a physical education instructor at both schools, each school raised more than $10,000 this year. Students raised funds individually for the walk through pledges, sponsorships and an elementary Relay For Life committee t-shirt sale.
Of the $20,000 raised, the schools donated $819 to the North Lee County Relay for Life and the rest of the money will be used to help fund program and needs of the teachers in the two elementary schools.
Adrian McKay, Richardson Elementary principal said the effort is remarkable and helps teachers.
“This is a little different related to a school event than what I’m accustomed to in the past,” McKay said. “This is supercool. Walk-A-Thon is one of the two largest fundraisers we do that focuses on the PTG and PTO.”
McKay said due to budgetary constraints for the district, the PTG and PTO can serve as a lifeline for the schools’ teachers.
“These funds are critical to what we do internally as two buildings. A small portion goes to classroom budgets for our teachers and that’s a great help to get our teachers resources,” he said. “The majority of the funds got to resources for our kids. One example is that’s how we get our kids to field trips.”
He said he hopes the event continues to be ongoing.
“It’s an amazing event to get everyone outdoors and have some fun while raising much needed fund. It’s been an amazing event,” he said.
Superintendent Erin Slater said the annual event is a great cause to raise money for a cure for cancer and to support teachers and kids in the classrooms.
“Their mission is to support the teachers and the students within their school teachers can talk to PTO and requests funding for certain things that will help enhance their classrooms,” Slater said.
Tracy King, the principal at Lincoln Elementary said the success of the program is shown in the fact that the Walk-A-Thon is in it’s fifth year.
“This is a really great event where the kids can get involved and help raise money. The fact that they are able to get out of the classrooms and be outside and the weather held out makes it even better.”
King said the money is instrumental in helping the schools provide for equipment in the classrooms, as well as helping fund off-site activities like field trips.
After a large group picture was taken and instructions were given, several students were recognized for their fundraising efforts. The top fundraiser in each class was given a race bib and had their picture taken on the track.
Top fundraisers for Lincoln were Colton Wykert (Kindergarten), Jackson Pech (1st-grade) Brian Sherman (2nd-grade) and Logan Nelton (3rd grade)
For Richardson, the top fundraisers were Aaron Beck (Kindergarten), Gunner Perry (1st-grade), DeShawn Townes (2nd-degree) and Jaydon Roach.
After the pictures were taken and sponsors were recognized. students and teachers filed onto the track where they could either walk around the track until lunchtime or they could even use the four inside lanes to run or job around the track.
A video of the start of the walk can be found by clicking here: https://youtu.be/W4D0faKX6kM