Summit Academy 10th annual Jogapalooza introduces new course, activities
Summit Academy elementary students run as part of the school’s 10th annual Jogapalooza fundraiser. (Julie Slama/City Journals)
Summit Academy second-grader Phillip Mayer has been planning to run 20 laps around his school’s fun run course since last spring, when he ran nine times around.
“I’m planning to run around the school as fast as I can to get 20 in,” he said before the school’s Jogapalooza. “I won’t stop. I’ve been running a lot this year in soccer and baseball.”
His cousin, second-grader Grace Neeley, said they run at least two laps every day to help prepare for the big event.
“Everyone gets to run; it’s fun running with friends,” she said.
This year, while the elementary school students ran around their school in 20-minute periods as in years past, the junior high students took off on a 2.4-mile course on the nearby Porter Rockwell trail.
Assistant Principal Erin McRae ran it with each grade.
“I ran it three times, plus warming up, so I’ve gotten in 10 miles today,” she said. “It’s fun, but I’ll be sore tomorrow. It’s a much more exciting course for our junior high kids while the elementary students love the families cheering them on at the school.”
Principal Tyler Whittle, who ran a total of six miles as he joined the elementary kids at every grade level, said there were other changes to the event this year, such as using the dunk tank — usually reserved for students to dunk the principal and assistant principal — as an incentive so kids could dunk each other or teachers.
“We said they could have a raffle ticket for every $20 they brought in, so we got a lot more participation,” he said. “We did that with free dress days and using the principal’s chair and other incentives without adding any additional costs.”
Whittle estimated that the school netted $37,000, earmarked mostly for technology.
“We have a new computer lab as well as Chromebooks. We’re introducing more classes that need technology, such as coding, Lego robotics, interior design, digital photography, creative writing and other classes. Our goal is to increase technology. We have a 1-to-1 ratio in junior high and a 1-to-2 or -3 in elementary, “ he said.
Whittle said the school also offered a paint night this year to go along with the traditional silent auction and dinner preceding Jogapalooza.
“Our art teacher gave participants step-by-step instructions on how to paint Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’ and we sold about 150 canvases, which helped generate $5,000. But more than just creating a painting, the kids were with their families, creating memories. They had so much fun,” Whittle said.
Grace’s mother, Rachel, said the changes in this year’s Jogapalooza were good.
“I like the fact the kids help earn the money by running and this year, it was fun to jazz it up,” she said. “The kids’ highlight is to dunk other kids and teachers and they still get excited to run in this and now with new prizes, they’re even more motivated. It’s all for a good cause — more computers in the school, which benefits them.”