Walkin’ in the rain

October 27, 2009

By Chantelle Lusebrink

Cascade Ridge Elementary School students and their families walk laps in the rain around the school Oct. 16 during the annual PTA walkathon fundraiser, which brought in $46,000 to afford outside expert seminars for children, classroom grants and teacher stipends. By Greg Farrar

Cascade Ridge Elementary School students and their families walk laps in the rain around the school Oct. 16 during the annual PTA walkathon fundraiser, which brought in $46,000 to afford outside expert seminars for children, classroom grants and teacher stipends. By Greg Farrar

Cascade Ridge Elementary School families broke out the galoshes and rain gear to raise money for their school Oct. 16.

The school’s walkathon, their largest fundraiser, took place on the rainiest day so far this month. But that didn’t stop the families from walking or running a few laps while jamming to the school’s teacher band, The Hee Haw Band, and a deejay.

“It’s fun,” said Ethan Wolfe, a fourth-grader who ran 11 laps. “I like to walk around the school.”

The fundraiser brought in more than $46,000 for the school’s Parents, Teachers and Students Association, which helps bridge the funding gap between state funding and what is necessary for a 21st century education, said Cathia Geller, a walkathon team member.

For instance, money from the event will help pay for seminars with outside experts in math, science, art and music to teach the children, she said. It also pays classroom grants and teacher stipends.“It’s a fundraiser, so we can go on school field trips and get things the Issaquah School District can’t buy,” said fourth-grader Shyam Mukund, who ran 11 laps.

It’s a good way to spend a Friday, said fourth-grader Jonathan Suh, who ran 11 laps.

“It’s important, because we raise money for special-education things and all the stuff we can have,” he said

“We are trying to make our public schools better,” Geller said. “We’re trying to improve on what we have. We realize our public school is trying its best with the money it does have, but if we don’t step up, we won’t have the things we want for our children.”

On the day of the event, about 1,000 people came to the school to participate, including students, their families and school faculty members. There are 560 students enrolled at the school.

For every lap, they received a bottle of water or a piece of red licorice. Every student received a free short-sleeved shirt for the event and for participating they received extra prizes, like coupons for Jamba Juice. Throughout the week, students in different grades collected pledges and donations for the school.

Students and families also participated in a scarecrow-building contest and fifth-grade students could carve pumpkins. Winners were given prizes donated by local restaurants.

Parents could bid on a variety of silent-auction items, including the popular extra recess for their child’s class or front-row parking at the school. Raffle tickets were also available.

Once students were finished walking, they came inside to grab homemade chili bowls, hot dogs or baked potatoes to warm up with, as well as hot cocoa and cider.

“It’s going well, but busy,” said Monica Futty, a parent who made 120 servings of her homemade chili for the event.

After a good meal, the students were off to compete in pumpkin bowling and pin the nose on the jack-o-lantern, which third-grader Anna Heeter liked the most. Beaver Lake Middle School students returned to their elementary school as volunteers to run the carnival.

“It really gets the kids into the spirit of community building,” Geller said. “They come, have dinner and it’s an evening out for all our families.”

Cascade Ridge Elementary School students raise more than $46,000

“It is a chance to help everyone out,” said Joe Heeter, Anna’s father. “The silent auction and the walk is a chance to help the school and the PTA out.”

Sponsors for this year’s walk included Microsoft and Swedish Hospital, Hawkins Orthodontist and KPMG. Grocery stores, like QFC, Fred Meyer and Trader Joes, also donated items, as did many restaurants.

Fall City Farms donated pumpkins, squash and corn stalks to decorate the school for the event, Geller said.

“I think this event is important because it brings together our parent, student and teaching community together at an event that celebrates the community spirit we have here,” said Principal Colleen Shields. “It’s great to see.”

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