Students raise nearly $24K for their schools by participating in walk-a-thons


Every step, lap and drop of sweat was worth it for more than a thousand students at two Seymour elementary schools.

Seymour-Redding and Emerson elementary schools conducted their annual walk-a-thons Friday, where all grade levels spent time outside walking and running laps around the playground throughout the day.

The walk-a-thons are a way to raise money for the school’s parent teacher organizations without forcing students to sell candy, nuts, popcorn, cheesecake, butter braids or discount cards.

Each student was encouraged to raise whatever amount of money they could.

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One hundred percent of the donations goes back to the school to benefit the students, said Emerson walk-a-thon organizer Erin Reinhart.

Emerson ended up raising $12,079, while Redding raised $11,608.05 for a total of $23,687.05.

“That will allow all of our classes to have one paid field trip this year, and we’re not hitting parents up more than once for money,” Reinhart said.

Remaining funds are used to fund the annual Doughnuts for Dads and Muffins for Moms programs along with an allotted amount for each teacher for classroom supplies.

After Emerson third-grader Camila Gallegos completed her laps, she looked at her pedometer and gasped.

“I took 2,595 steps,” she said. “That’s a lot.”

Her classmate and friend, Layla Pena, recorded 1,174 steps.

“It makes it a lot of fun to help our school,” Pena said.

After each lap, adult volunteers marked Emerson students’ hands, arms and even their faces with a victory mark. Students at Redding received different colored bracelets for the laps they completed.

As an incentive, students could earn prizes if they reached certain levels of fundraising, said PTO President Sarah Stair. Those prizes included pedometers, lanyards, exclusive Emerson T-shirts, water bottles, drawstring bags and homework passes.

Emerson kindergartner Kinsley Hunt raised the most money at her school bringing in $525. The top three classes were Renee Strietelmeier’s kindergarten class with $1,991, Sherry Dart’s third-grade class with $1,194.50 and Tracey Brown’s fourth-grade class with $1,039.

Students also were entered to win bigger prizes, including a bicycle, in-line skates, a scooter and a Garmin watch donated by Jackson County Dental, Progressive Physical Therapy and Smith’s Tire Sales. Those winners were Dominic Galvan Rojas, Dylan Phillips, Samantha Kerby and Corbin James.

Redding’s PTO started its walk-a-thon five years ago as the school’s major fundraiser for the year, Principal Steve Bush said.

But it’s also a way to promote exercise and being active, he added.

The Seymour High School athletic department helps out at Redding each year in creating the walking trail.

“It’s a fun track with a variety of twists and turns,” Bush said. “We wanted to encourage a healthy active lifestyle and raise funds with very little overhead. It’s a well-received event by our students and families.”

Parent volunteer Maria Clark said it was an opportunity for her to help out at Redding where her son, fourth-grader Brody Snyder, attends.

“I’ve volunteered ever since the first walk-a-thon,” she said. “I’m all about the kids exercising and being active.”

Bush said the school doesn’t get to invite families to spend time with their children during the school day very often.

“This is a great way for us to open our doors and build those important relationships and connections,” he said.

Redding second-grader Tate Unterseher said the event benefits the school and students.

“We’re doing this for fun and to help raise money. We’re helping the PTO,” he said. “I like being able to do this with my friends.”

Kendal Robinson, also a second-grader at Redding, said it’s important for students to do what they can to support their school.

“I’m walking to raise money for the PTO,” she said. “My friends are out here, too. I’ve done this three years, I think.”

Each student was given the opportunity to collect donations and could earn custom Redding prizes from the PTO when they raised certain amounts of money.

“Everyone is given something if they choose to participate, no matter how much they collected,” Bush said.

Top fundraisers at Redding were kindergartner Catherine Rozhon with $350, first-grader Blakelynn Stevens with $280 and first-grader Lukas Arnow with $260.

All of the proceeds from the event benefit the PTO, which then uses the money to support students and staff through educational programs, Bush said.

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