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Draper Journal

Elementary fun runs bring ‘fun’ to run

Oct 04, 2021 11:42AM ● By Julie Slama

Some Willow Springs kindergartners recover after their 35-minute run, which was held during the school’s fundraiser. (Photo courtesy of Willow Springs Elementary)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

A total of 14,936 laps were run on a course around Willow Springs Elementary’s field one Friday in September.

Those were by kindergartners through fifth-graders who had laced up their shoes to run 35 minutes as part of a fundraiser that brought in almost $15,000 for the school, according to school PTA president Valerie Warburton.

That was one of three fun runs PTA members coordinated this fall in Draper. Many grade schools coordinate runs as a way to promote youth fitness as well as gain funds for PTA-sponsored activities. In addition to Willow Spring’s event on Sept. 10, Draper Elementary’s Dragon Dash was slated for Sept. 27 and Oak Hollow’s fun run is set for Oct. 8.

Willow Springs, which traditionally has held a neighborhood run through its 15-year history, chose this year to have Boosterthon set up a track on their field, which allowed students in two grades to run between 30 to 40 laps in 35 minutes, Warburton said.

“There was a DJ that played fun music throughout the run. Some laps were fun laps and kids would skip, jump, fly like an airplane, or just walk to have a breather,” she said.

Leading up to the run, Boosterthon representatives visited classes daily.

“They got the kids excited for the run,” Warburton said, adding that this year, parents were welcome on campus to cheer on the students. 

By bringing in donations, students earned prizes ranging from bracelets and boomerangs to mini rockets. Classes could earn activities or parties from a glow stick dance party to a top-secret mission. In addition, students received T-shirts with the PTA theme, “There’s a hero in all of us.”

Part of the funds are earmarked for a shade to cover their playground equipment, Warburton said.

The Dragon Dash at Draper Elementary is a race not associated with fundraising, said Timette Wankier, Draper Elementary PTA public relations vice president. 

The event was slated for the evening of Sept. 27 and allowed each grade to race 100 meters on the playground. Heat winners were to receive a slap bracelet and overall girl and boy grade winners were to win grand prizes.

“It’s a celebration rather than a fundraiser,” Wankier said.

Instead, Draper Elementary held a no-fuss fundraiser, with the theme “Aloha Together,” beginning Sept. 17 and was to end Oct. 2. All students who returned their fundraising envelopes, even if no donations were collected, received a lei. Students also were taught how to hula.  

As the school earned funds, with a goal of $25,000 earmarked for field trips, Red and White Ribbon weeks, literacy week, student of the month, Meet the Masters and more, students were rewarded with incentives such as a hat day, Disney day, crazy sock day, Hawaiian day or a longer recess, she said.

Oak Hollow’s fun run is just that—running with friends to music and through bubbles—as a DJ is planned to play pump-up songs while students run on their field where a bubble machine is planned to be set up.

The 600 students are expected to run about 10 laps around the field and organizers hope that donations from individuals and businesses will reach their $20,000 goal.

“We use the funds for dinners for teachers during parent-teacher conferences, for field trips, for our book vending machine so each child can get two books, school T-shirts and a whole lot more,” said school PTA president Sarah Diederich. 

Last year, the PTA also donated funds for student Chromebooks, she said.

“The fun run is just that—fun,” Diederich said. “The students are out, moving their bodies. It’s like a party.”