By Melanie Williamson
On Friday, October 6, the students at Vermilion Elementary School took turns walking, marching, and dancing their way around the gym during their first walk-a-thon. This event was hosted by the VES PTO as a fundraiser.
Throughout the year, the PTO pays for free or minimally cost family fun events every month, COSI on Wheels, the library guild which supplies the library with new books, teacher and staff appreciation gifts, classroom materials and educational materials as requested by teachers and staff, and recess equipment such as balls, jump ropes, and chalk. The also supply all 3rd graders with Time magazine subscriptions, and they supply classrooms with books every fall and spring.
PTO president Stefanie Herchler shared that they are hoping to be able to bring in more activities such as COSI on Wheels into the school to enhance the overall learning experience while also reducing the number of fundraisers they need to do each year. She shared that she understands the stress fundraisers often put on parents, and they are hoping to alleviate that as much as they can.
When asked where they got the idea, Herchler shared that she and other members of the VES PTO are part of a Facebook community of PTO leaders that share ideas. She stated that events such as walk-a-thons are becoming more popular and have been found to be more effective than selling fundraisers. They are also more popular among the students, who enjoy getting out of their classrooms for a bit to move around.
Each class was given 30 minutes in the gym as PTO members lead the procession and music played. Herchler shared that one of the reasons they liked the idea so much was that in addition to raising money, it promoted health and wellness and got the students moving. This event was supposed to be at the track in the football stadium, but due to the rain, it was held in the VES gym.
The event has already raised over $6,000, and online donations are being accepted through Friday, so that amount could increase. For participating in the walk-a-thon, all the students earned an extra recess all week and are enjoying a much anticipated “Wear Your Clothes Backwards” day.