Marathon fund raising teaches students multitude of lessons

Carlee Mehls, 10th grade, right, and Elaine Eckberg, 12th grade, left, are cheered on by lower school students as they approach the finish list of the Lions All School Marathon yesterday. (Submitted photo)

Carlee Mehls, 10th grade, right, and Elaine Eckberg, 12th grade, left, are cheered on by lower school students as they approach the finish list of the Lions All School Marathon yesterday. (Submitted photo)

For Vicki and Troy DeWitt seeing their kids get excited about fund raising for their school is always a great experience. Their children — Avery, a fourth-grader and Rowan, a first-grader — go to St. Croix Preparatory Academy, which hosted its third annual fundraising marathon on Thursday.

The all-school marathon is broken down into certain run groups with kindergarteners through first-graders funning a quarter mile, grades 2-4 running a half mile and grades 5-12 running a full mile for a combined total of 26.2 marathon miles. The fundraiser is intended to fill the deficit the school experiences when it comes to funding that can’t be made up with outside partners. This year’s all-school goal was set at $85,000. The total amount raised by students was $85,625.

It is the school’s largest fundraiser all year.

All money raised goes toward materials for the classroom. In the past, that has included new Mac computers, smart boards, Saxon Math Curriculum, student response clickers and more.

“I think it’s valuable for the kids to feel like they have had a stake in their education,” Troy DeWitt said.

This is the third year that the DeWitt family has participated in the event, and though the process for gathering donations has changed over the years due to hectic schedules — the family now seeks donations electronically instead of going door-to-door — it’s been a good learning experience that’s created some memories for the family.

“When (Avery) first had to fund raise, she was going door to door, and she got really nervous before she went to our next-door neighbor’s house,” Troy DeWitt said. “She pulled me into the bushes and said, ‘Dad, Dad I need to practice.’ So we were practicing her sales pitch she had written up before we went up and knocked on the door. It’s a great experience to think about all the factors that are involved in fund raising, why they donate and what can we do to make our sales pitches. It’s taught our kids lots of skills.”

Some of those skills include business skills that the DeWitt’s have instilled in their children like how to approach people.

It’s also led to some realization of what an impact the DeWitt children can have on their school and community.

“This year we composed an e-mail online and the kids really get excited about working up to the distance running and partnering in the success of the drive,” Vicki DeWitt said. “When they look at the dictionary or the smart board, they realize that ‘I helped earn this textbook,’ and it’s a really cool lightbulb moment with each of our kids. It really gives them a sense of accomplishment and pride to raise funds and participate in the spirit of the marathon.”

Troy DeWitt said that the energy that encompasses the day is amazing and really creates a sense and spirit of community within the school that lasts all year.

Events that take place during the day include: the actual run, which is done in preparation for the one-mile run that gym classes do in the spring; a tug-of-war between the middle and upper school students; a special lunch; activities for the younger students; and an appearance from the PowerUP team from Lakeview Health, which has been encouraging healthy eating and fitness through the program that was established almost a year ago now.

“The marathon teaches a multitude of lessons,” Vicki DeWitt said. “It teaches good business sense going forward, and other than raising money, the children really benefit in other ways, and increasing their endurance is always a plus.”

Contact Avery Cropp at avery.cropp@ecm-inc.com

up arrow