A school-wide event at West Hartford’s Whiting Lane Elementary School last week raised thousands for the PTO while promoting healthy activity.
By Ronni Newton
On one of the most beautiful days the area has seen this spring, Whiting Lane students, teachers, and staff had a chance be outside running around – and supporting the PTO at the same time.
The second annual Whiting Lane Rock ‘n Run, held Friday, May 20, involved the entire school in a unique fundraiser.
“When I moved here last year I noticed that the school had a lot of little fundraisers,” said Whiting Lane PTO Fundraising Chair Molly Smith. She decided that it made sense to launch a single large fundraiser, and one that didn’t involve a lot of overhead taken by outside companies.
The entire school community participated, running or walking laps around the school’s track during their 30-minute recess time. A DJ played energetic music, and there was water as well as healthy snacks donated by ShopRite for those who needed a break or a snack after finishing their laps.
Park Tavern served as the presenting sponsor this year, and donated $2,500 to cover the cost of t-shirts for everyone.
The Rock ‘n Run was organized totally by volunteers, so donations directly benefit the school. Each child was asked to solicit a flat donation for their participation in the event. The incentive: children who raised a certain level could earn “prizes” like extra recess, homework passes, or a PJ day. Other prizes included a visit from an ice cream truck, class books gift certificate, $200 class choice, and year-end celebrations.
“What I like about this fundraiser is that it’s all about the spirit of the kids. It’s not the parents doing it,” said PTO President Myra Wall. Donations weren’t just made by parents and other family members. She said that several Town Council members and others from outside of the Whiting Lane community donated as well.
It takes five laps of the Whiting Lane track to complete a mile, and volunteers – who included Assistant Superintendent Andrew Morrow, Town Council member Beth Kerrigan, Board of Education member Dave Pauluk, parents, and teachers – put check-marks on the students’ t-shirts each time they completed a lap. Some of the students logged several miles.
Last year’s Rock ‘n Run, the inaugural event, raised $13,000 which was primarily used for new playground equipment. This year’s goal was $15,000. The students knew that if they met the goal they would be able to “slime” interim Principal Kathleen McKay.
“We met our goal. We raised more than $18,000!” Smith reported Thursday. It was a great event and a huge success, she said.
The students will now have the chance to vote on whether to slime McKay or physical education teacher Dylan Geisler on the last day of school, Smith said.
McKay said it was important for the kids to know that she was a willing participant in the sliming, and if the goal was met that she would be “glad to do it.”
This year Whiting Lane even held a pep rally – its first ever – on May 6, to kick off the event.
“This has been an awesome community-building event, plus it’s building fitness,” Smith said. Teachers have used the event as the basis for math lessons as well, and Smith said the adults were just as excited as the kids.
Like what you see here? Click here to subscribe to We-Ha’s newsletter so you’ll always be in the know about what’s happening in West Hartford!
Leave a Comment