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Park Lane, Altara students run for fun, fitness and as fundraiser

Nov 02, 2017 04:30PM ● Published by Julie Slama

Park Lane students run in their jog-a-thon fundraiser to support PTA activities. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

The students pledged they would run for fun and for fitness. And the community responded with pledges for the fundraisers that tallied about $12,000 at Park Lake and $17,000 for Altara — with both schools still counting last-minute donations.

At Park Lane, students brought in donations earmarked for typical PTA activities such as Red Ribbon Week and Reflections, but also for classroom grants, Principal Justin Jeffery said.

“Last year, we were able to get more technology — iPads and carts — in our school as well as a reading corner,” he said. “We’re wanting to increase money for our teacher grants, whether it’s for extra materials or classroom manipulatives. The funds will go directly to benefit our students.”

Jeffery supports the annual fundraiser fun run by donning his own tennis shoes to run with each grade while wearing a cape for the Star Wars theme, “Be a Force.”

“I can’t remember how many laps I ran, but we did excellent on the fun run,” he said after the event. “We have an amazing PTA where we can make this happen with parents coming together with our theme, volunteering and supporting our students in a positive way.”

PTA President Jen Coccimigilo said it’s a successful event.

 “It’s a fun way to bring our families together and to raise funds for our students,” she said at the Sept. 20 fun run.

Sam Merrell was cheering on fifth-grader Aubrey Heaps, fourth-grader Chasey Heaps-Merrell and kindergartner Mazzy Heaps-Merrell at the fun run.

“This is good for them because it keeps them active,” he said. “Plus, the PTA keeps all the money instead of only getting a portion of it if they were to sell something.”

Jessica Smith helped with Park Lane’s fun run and supported her children, first-grader Brysen and third-grader Paige, with getting donations.

“They went door to door, asked neighbors and grandparents,” she said. 

Many of the kids were inspired to bring in at least $20 for shark keychains. There were raffles for bigger prizes such as Hale Theatre, Utah Jazz, movie and Boondocks tickets.

Paige wanted to win Imagine Dragon concert tickets, but also enjoyed running 23 laps around the school’s field course.

“It was fun to run with my friends,” she said. “We’re in different classes so this was fun to be with them.”

The fun run also incorporated character education lessons that were taught with the school’s theme. Those included be a force for kindness, be a force for honesty, be a force for friendship, be a force for including others, be a force for courage, be a force for gratitude and be a force for perseverance.

“A parent (former PTA president Jeanne Prestwich, who is a trained teacher) wrote some great lesson plans to go with these — (it’s) such a great focus for our students,” Jeffery said. 

An added incentive for students was to see several faculty members as well as their principal be dunked Oct. 2 after they met their $12,000 goal. 

Altara Principal Nicole Svee Magann and staff and faculty got wet in a dunk tank as well as part of their fun run.

“We changed our traditional fun run around the neighborhood on a school day morning to Saturday evening to make it more of a community event,” Svee Magann said. “We wanted neighbors, parents and the community to come for the run, the food trucks, the dunk tank and just the fun atmosphere.”

The run was moved to Oct. 7 at Alta High, with students running in heats around the track. Students and faculty alike could come dressed up as superheroes to tie into their school theme and the theme of the event, “Super Family Fun Run.”

The theme also ties into their rules — be safe, be respectful and be responsible — and the school theme of “be the superhero of your own story,” Svee Magann said.

“It’s a powerful theme and powerful to be an Altara superhero,” she said.

 Parent volunteer Kourtney Vickery said her students were motivated to create their own bake sale over social media to help raise money for the school fun run.

“They’d take orders and bake the items. My son also did a lemonade and snack stand over the summer and we did a lot of door-to-door as well,” she said.

The money raised surpassed the PTA goal of $16,700 and will help with activities such as field trips, Reflections, science fair, Meet the Masters and Red Ribbon week.

Raffles for items such as Bosch kitchen appliances, a Dutch oven, tools as well as theater, skating, dinner, movie passes and local business gift cards during the event also brought in donations.

A bonus incentive for the students to reach the goal was the promise that Svee Magann will kiss a pig at an assembly.

“It’s all in good fun and for the kids,” she said.  

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