by TaLeiza Calloway
Under a cloudy sky and sprinkling of rain, 750 students and 150 staff members of Kennedy Community School participated in a Walk-a-thon May 11.
With the theme: Walk across America, the goal was to raise money for the school and see if walkers could actually log enough miles to go across the United States. They did it. The school logged 3,455 miles.
Kennedy Principal Diane Moeller said this was the first time for the event in the new school. Students collected money for the walk and area business also supported the school with donations.
While the initial goal was to raise $10,000, the school raised about $25,000, Moeller said. Proceeds will help the Parent-Teacher-Association fund programs for students and technology efforts for the school.
The idea to hold a walk-a-thon is not new, but Kennedy’s decision to add the Walk across America theme sets it apart, Moeller said. Coordination of the event included collaboration with Better Living: Exercise and Nutrition Daily for ideas.
Funded by CentraCare Health Foundation, BLEND is a coalition including medical professionals, policy makers, educators and health care advocates who are committed to improving the health of children in the St. Cloud area. One of the main purposes of holding the Walk-a-thon event was to encourage a healthy lifestyle and highlight the importance of exercising.
Along the route were different activities to represent one of the states walkers were passing through.
For example, one could hula-hoop in Hawaii, crab walk in Maine or pitch a few rounds in Minnesota—dubbed “Twins Territory.”
Fourth-grade student Markis Jones made the crab walk look easy. Though he admitted being a little tired after walking four miles, he kept his energy up by taking advantage of the various activity stations along the walk.
“It’s fun,” Jones said of the event. “It gives us a chance to hang out with our friends and raise money for our school.”
Fourth-grade student Kailey Berg-Kalscheur liked the health component of the walk-a-thon. For the 10-year-old, walking serves as a nice alternative for students.
“It gets you away from a (computer) screen and video games,” Berg-Kalscheur said. “It’s good to exercise.”
Students were also given an added incentive to help raise money for the event. Some grade levels were allowed to stay out and walk longer if they raised a certain amount.
Students who raised $80 were entered in a drawing to throw a pie in the face of one of the school’s staff members. If a student raised $100, he or she would also be entered in a drawing to shave the head of a faculty member.
“They’re loving it,” Moeller said.