FOLLOW MY LEAD: Hope Highlands Walk-a-thon co-chair Tim Reichardt explains to the students how to put together their bracelets as the walk continues.
PIT STOP: Kate Schmidt and Kate Ragno take a break from their laps.
NICE BRACELET: Kiara Smith shows off her finished bracelet after her class finished walking.
SIGN OF HOPE: Chris Erb, Vincent Turchetta and Mitchell Wetherbee pose for a photo with Hope, the school mascot.
SCHOOL SPIRIT: Marissa Drezek and Hannah Sasa wore their school colors for the annual Walk-a-thon.
YOUNGEST HUSKY: Lucia Ciccone, a Hope Highlands kindergartener, kept close to her dad, who volunteered at the event.
The Hope Highlands PTO tries to keep their fundraising to a minimum, recognizing that money is tight for families. They host three events each year, including Friday’s annual Walk-a-thon, the PTO’s largest fundraiser that accounts for more than 50 percent of the yearly budget.
"Despite the inclement weather, the parents, students and teachers rallied together for another successful Hope Highlands Walk-a-thon. Even though it was in the gym, the parents and faculty made it fun by having music, games and activities for the kids to participate in. The money we raised will go toward student activities,” said Principal Don Cowart.
Each grade level walked for 30 minutes around the gymnasium, escaping Friday’s drizzling rain. At the end of each lap, a teacher or one of more than 40 parent volunteers gave them a bead to add to a bracelet. By the end of the half hour, each student had enough purple and white beads to make a bracelet and show off their school spirit.
Each of the 419 students was also given a backpack ID tag as a prize for participating. The tags are in the shape of a paw in honor of the school’s mascot, a husky.
While a final count was not available at press time, Walk-a-thon co-chair Tim Reichardt said he believes they would meet the $12,000 goal.
“We feel confident that when all of the donations come in, we’ll hit that target,” he said.
Those funds will be used to support PTO programming, such as field trips and the purchase of computers and audio-visual equipment.
“All the money goes back to the kids,” said Jim De Simone, who co-chaired the event with Reichardt.
(Herald photos by Meg Fraser)