Race for Education exceeds goal to benefit G-A schools

PAT FRIDGEN, Echo Pilot
Fifth-grade students ran at the beginning of their hour of Race for Education.

It was all joy and spritely steps as children from Greencastle-Antrim Primary and Elementary schools took part in Race for Education on Friday. They spent an hour walking or running around the track, doing their part to earn money for educational programs provided by the PTO. It was the culminating event of a first-time fundraiser, in which people mailed donations to the PTO after receiving a letter explaining that there would be no door-to-door sales of merchandise this year.

The PTO sought to raise $50,000 to cover expenses for its active presence in the two schools. The community donated $70,000.

“All of our feedback was positive,” said Brittny Paci, PTO vice president. “It’s amazing how much people love and support their kids, and value education. The response was huge.”

She said people liked the idea that all of their money went directly to the kids. The PTO would use it for field trips, assemblies, author visits, classroom grants and other educational purposes that weren’t funded by the school district.

All of the children sported blue T-shirts with the slogan “One Team, One Mission”. They cheered when the administration drove by in a motorized cart, blue and gold from head to toe. Elementary principal Chad Stover, primary principal Angie Singer, and assistant principal Kevin Carley had promised to cover themselves in the school colors if the goal was met, and they kept their word.

Luke Montedoro, 10, guessed he circled the Kaley Field track 10 times, but he knew it was for a good cause. “It’s to raise money for our school, so we can get more money for our reading program.” Jasmine Blair, 9, enjoyed the outdoor experience, despite the overcast skies and chill in the air. “We can get outside and run.”

Students in grades K-2 walked around the northern field, and grades 3-5 were on the track. Music filled the air, and volunteers staffed a hydration station. Each classroom posed for a picture. Parents, relatives and friends watched from the sidelines.

Steve Hefner, grandfather of two, liked the new method of raising funds. The audience was more targeted, which increased the likelihood of success. “You get better efficiency and response,” he said. “Plus, it’s safer for the kids than going door to door and you don’t know who you are approaching.”

Parent Maureen Reid considered the event fun. People on her contact list, upon receiving the PTO letter, had called her asking how much to contribute. But she was not opposed to the traditional system of selling pizza, candy and other items.

“A combination is OK,” she said. “Otherwise people get bored. And some like to get something for their money.”

A host of volunteers helped during the three hours, as the 1,300 students came to the fields in shifts. Paci hustled from one point to another, smiling at the energy of the morning.

“We hope to make this an annual event.”