Rather than selling cookie dough and wrapping paper, several elementary schools in Chandler and across the state are turning to a new school-sponsored run. For students, the opportunity is the right blend of fun and fundraising.
More than 30 schools and 30,000 students in Arizona are participating in the Boosterthon, a new fundraising program that focuses on fitness and friendship, this semester.
Boosterthon allows students to get per-lap pledges for each lap they run during a fun run or walk-a-thon at the school. Students can run or walk between 32 and 35 laps on the 1/16-mile course at the event.
“The good thing about the Boosterthon is that it incorporates fitness, but it also incorporates community and personal responsibility,” PTO president for Tarwater Elementary Carmen Wagstaff said. “It kind of teaches the values that we are already trying to teach at Tarwater.”
Tarwater’s PTO has seen an increased need at its school to raise money for the students, especially since the school district is no longer funding certain programs, like P.E. and library.
“We were tired of trying to sell stuff that people don’t want to buy,” Wagstaff said, adding that the money they raise will go towards increased math and science funding for the older students and reading help for the younger students.
“Our schools don’t have enough money, and you can say all you want that we pay too many taxes, but the bottom line is that we have teachers spending their own money,” she said.
Tarwater, which hosted its Boosterthon Fun Run on Jan. 23, is just one of several East Valley elementary schools participating in the program, Sanborn Elementary and Basha Elementary among them.
“Most fundraising is a drag. Parents, students and teachers don’t enjoy them,” Boosterthon spokesman Brett Trapp said. “We’ve really tried to transform them to something they will enjoy and never forget.”
In addition to the exercise, people from the Boosterthon organization hold daily assemblies to teach students about being a good friend. This year students are learning about the qualities that make a good friend through Camp High Five, where they learn about sportsmanship, respect and not bullying while being physically active through the program.
“One of the things we love is that we have a character and fitness program that runs at the same time (as the fundraiser),” Trapp said. “It takes the fundraiser and makes it more valuable.”
• Shelby Slade is a sophomore at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She is an intern with the Tribune this semester. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.