The first ever Waupaca Learning Center Walkathon raised $20,126, and all of the money will stay in the school.
“I would consider that to be a very successful fundraiser,” said Principal John Erspamer. “It exceeded all my expectations.”
The funds will be used to purchase books and teaching tools and to also help with field trip costs.
The walkathon was held on Oct. 20, and Erspamer said the students did not mind that it was a chilly and windy day.
“The kids had a blast,” he said. “They had a lot of fun with it.”
The event was organized by the parent/teacher group’s fundraising committee, made up of Emily Nikolai, Pam Gusmer, Kelly Carlson, Dawn Jenson and Jenny Ryan.
“It was very organized,” Erspamer said. “Emily Nikolai took this and ran with it. The PTG went on board with her and said, ‘Let’s give it a shot.'”
In the past, a large percentage of the profit from their fundraisers went outside the community. When Nikolai and her family lived in Tennessee, the school her children attended raised money through a walkathon instead of having the students sell products.
It was decided to do the same here.
With the walkathon, students got pledges or donations.
Erspamer said it was the first time they did something like this. “We had a great group of people – the PTG, volunteers, the staff and the kids and families who had to get pledges for laps.”
All of the students in the school – from those in the early childhood program to those in fifth grade – walked for 20 minutes on the day of the walkathon.
Two tracks were designed on the field in front of the school.
ThyssenKrupp Waupaca donated the funding to provide each student and teacher with a walkathon T-Shirt. Graphic designer Marla Snyder provided the design.
The Chain Skiers let the school use its stereo equipment on the day of the walkathon.
The top fundraising class from each grade received a prize.
Andrea Whitman’s fifth-grade class raised $3,891. Each student received a one-week family membership to Health and Fitness Headquarters, including the pool and waterslides.
Scott Van Ess’s fourth-grade class raised $5,068. Each student received a ticket for a Clear Water Harbor cruise on the Chain O’ Lakes.
The third-grade class of Linda Fenton raised $4,230. Each student received a pass for a found of golf at Tom Thumb Mini Golf.
Dani Faldet’s second-grade class raised $1,784 and won a pizza party for the class, compliments of Weasel’s.
Kathy Blonde’s first-grade class raised $1,286. Each student received a game of bowling from Nelson’s Strike Zone.
The kindergartner class of Andrea Fossum-Grall raised $2,799. The students received Culver’s ice cream tokens and an ice cream party in the classroom.
Jennie Peterson’s afternoon preschoolers raised $1,048 and also received ice cream tokens from Culver’s and an ice cream party in the classroom.
Kindergartner Calep Hespe was the student who raised the most, collecting a total of $268.50 for the walkathon. He will received a $50 Waupaca Area Chamber of Commerce gift certificate from the PTG.
There were also random prize drawings for all of the 405 students who returned pledges – from $1 to more than $200. Ten students were chosen to receive a book from the PTG.
Erspamer called it a “win-win” for the school, saying they got the students outside for some exercise while also raising money for the school.