Middle school students take on 'Walkathon'

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
East Haddam - posted Mon., Oct. 10, 2011
Students in Melissa Luke's class show their school spirit at the NHRMS Walkathon. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Students in Melissa Luke's class show their school spirit at the NHRMS Walkathon. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

Students at Nathan Hale-Ray Middle School had a chance to show their school spirit on Friday, Oct. 7, while raising some cash for future school events at the same time. For one hour, all 500-plus students, as well as faculty, walked - or in some cases ran – circles around the building, collecting a donation for every lap completed during the Middle School Principal’s Advisory Committee’s fifth annual Walkathon.

“We raise money for all of the school’s cultural events,” said MPAC President Irene Haines. These events include an anti-bullying assembly, teacher appreciation day and the eighth-grade trip to Washington, D.C. The Walkathon is the group’s only real fundraiser, “and we really want to keep it that way,” said Haines, hoping to avoid the nearly endless string of fundraisers common in many other schools. Last year’s Walkathon raised about $10,000, she said. And although this year's Walkathon is completed, donations are still being accepted, Haines added.

In addition to helping raise money for MPAC, the Walkathon also provides “an opportunity for all of the kids to participate in a healthy, outdoor activity,” said Haines. As part of the event, students were encouraged to show their school spirit by dressing up according to various class themes, trying to outdo each other, and hopefully win an ice cream social for their class by showing the most spirit. In addition, students earn gift cards for reaching various milestones in their fundraising efforts.

Signs trumpeting the individual classes were common, and some, like Melissa Luke’s class, dressed in school colors and painted their faces while donning white and blue wigs. Others were more subtle, wearing hats with single, long feathers attached in honor of their principal, Jason Peacock.

“I think it’s a lot of fun because we get to walk around, and it will pay for our D.C. trip,” said Charles, an eighth-grader in Danielle Vachon’s class.

Family and consumer science teacher Jeanne Vigen mentioned that the students seem more excited about the Walkathon every year, particularly with their show of school spirit. “The kids are very enthusiastic. They’re having a good time,” Vigen said.

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