Coon Rapids students walk to raise money for technology

While holding signs and shouting classroom titles like “3AP!” and “4MP!”, Mississippi Elementary School students walked one-mile around the school to raise money for school technology at their fourth annual Walk-A-Thon May 31.

Texas Roadhouse’s mascot Andy the Armadillo came out to the event to cheer on students as they begin the Walk-A-Thon. Photo by Bethany Kemming
Texas Roadhouse’s mascot Andy the Armadillo came out to the event to cheer on students as they begin the Walk-A-Thon. Photo by Bethany Kemming

A month leading up to the event, students and staff collected around $3,800 in donations for classroom competitions to buy additional Promethean boards, similar to Smart Boards. On Thursday afternoon, students were greeted in the back of the school by Principal Mark Hansen and Texas Roadhouse’s Andy the Armadillo mascot. Students sang a rousing rendition of the school song, and then laughed and cheered as they watched their teachers compete in a three-legged race.

The fifth-graders led the way as students filed along the one-mile path around the school.

Along the way every student stopped at one important landmark.

To mark the end of Mississippi Elementary’s 50th year, the city of Coon Rapids gave a tree to the school and planted it along the path. A tree had also been planted near the front of the school for the 25th anniversary.

Staff collected water from the Mississippi River prior to the event in large containers and provided each student with a cup of the water to pour onto the tree before continuing. Students also received many reminders not to drink the river water.

“The water part was cool because it came straight from the Mississippi,” first-grade student Aiden North said.

Because it is also Target’s 50th anniversary year, the Coon Rapids Target gave Mississippi Elementary a monetary donation and sent out volunteers to help at the Walk-A-Thon.

Last year’s Walk-A-Thon raised $4,000 to buy several Promethean boards, and the money from this year’s Walk-A-Thon will be used to provide them for more classrooms.

“All the kids want these Promethean boards,” Parent Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Besst said.

When asked how much money the school hoped to raise this year, Besst replied “Hopefully it’s $4,001.”

“We always shoot for a dollar more than the past,” Volunteer Services Coordinator Nadine Goetz said.

Goetz said every year the students get the most enjoyment out of the opening ceremonies and watching the teachers compete in the three-legged race. Students also appreciated receiving a frozen treat once they had completed the Walk-A-Thon.

Kindergarten students, first-graders and second-graders walked the path just once, while third-, fourth- and fifth-graders walked the one-mile path twice around.

Prior to the event, students raised money through pledges individually or had the option to collect pledges with their family. All students and families who turned in the tax-deductible donations were entered in class drawings to win prizes. The top three classes that collected the most money had the opportunity to have a party before the school year ends.

Bethany Kemming is at [email protected]