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A month of fitness, fundraising brings school together

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 7, 2017

 Students duct tape Elmwood Elementary Principal Michael Fringer to the wall as a reward for meeting fundraising goals during their Halloween Hustle Walk-a-Thon during the month of October.

Students duct tape Elmwood Elementary Principal Michael Fringer to the wall as a reward for meeting fundraising goals during their Halloween Hustle Walk-a-Thon during the month of October.

Photo provided by Michael Fringer

ST. CLAIR SHORES — With rewards like sliming the principal and taping him to the wall, students at a local school rose to the fundraising challenge set by their Parent-Teacher Association and blew it out of the water.

“What our PTA does for us is pay for all of our transportation for all of our field trips ... birthday books for all of our kids on their birthday ... roller skating parties, Christmas events with Santa, end-of-the-year fun fest with inflatables (and) games,” said Elmwood Elementary School Principal Michael Fringer. “They’re just a vital part of our school.” 

This is the second year the Elmwood PTA has hosted a Halloween Hustle Walk-a-Thon, which officially kicked off Sept. 28 with help from the South Lake High School marching band and ran through the entire month of October. Each Friday during the month, if students met fundraising “mile markers,” the entire school was rewarded with something fun, regardless of if or how much they participated in the fundraising. 

Prizes included popsicles, a midday dance party, a chance for every student to pour a cup of slime on Fringer, and also the chance for each student to take a 3-foot strip of duct tape and tape Fringer to the wall. 

Fringer said he appreciates the fact that the fundraiser has brought the school together.

“Now, because we have the money up front, a lot of the things we used to charge for can be ‘free,’” Fringer said. “It helps some of our kids whose families don’t have resources because it’s for the benefit of the entire school population.

“We just blew our goal out of the water ... And in this little school with this little community, that’s huge.”

Elmwood Elementary PTA President Kara Dorda said their goal was to incentivize everyone in the school, no matter their ability, during the school’s lone fundraiser for the year. 

“I’m just really proud of our students and our community for coming together to support our kids,” she said. “It’s really made a big difference in the school.” 

Through an online fundraising site, Facebook Live videos every Friday and personal phone calls to family, friends and neighbors, the students raised $21,640 for the school. The month culminated in a 30- to 45-minute walk through the neighborhood around the school on Halloween, led once again by the South Lake High School marching band to celebrate. The fundraising goal was $16,000.

Dorda said that the PTA recently put on a family game night and was able to give away games to families that attended. It also supports family reading nights, gives teachers money to purchase items for their classrooms, supports the fifth-grade party, and also gives out an Elmwood scholarship of $1,000 toward college for graduating high school seniors who attended Elmwood. 

Having the only fundraiser of the year at the beginning of the school year is less stressful on everyone, Dorda said.

“When we start the year off strong and we’re able to give back throughout the year, it’s great,” she said. “The sweetest thing is, everybody has felt a part of this process, no matter if they were able to fundraise or not. No one is left behind or left out, and we love that.”

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