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The City Journals

Student Runners Pace On New Route for Altara Elementary Jog-a-Thon Fundraiser

Oct 04, 2016 03:26PM ● By Julie Slama

Altara Elementary students, sporting their new school caps, take to the newly completed section of the Sandy Canal Path that is paved right next to the school as they participated in the school’s annual jog-a-thon to raise funds for field trips and PTA activities. (Julie Slama/My City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]

Second-grader Enoch Gardner likes to play tennis, soccer, baseball and basketball — and he can run. He was one of the top finishers in his grade as he recently ran in Altara Elementary’s jog-a-thon fundraiser.

The jog-a-thon, held Sept. 9, allowed students in each grade to run along the newly completed Sandy Canal Path, just east of the school. The route changed from about a dozen years of running through the neighborhood.

Catherine Wood, PTA jog-a-thon coordinator with Jody Hadfield, said police motorcyclists still lead the students off on the run, but “it was safer than the students running in the road.”

Hadfield agreed it was a good change.

“It was more contained,” she said.  “Kids couldn’t stray and everyone could keep an eye on everyone better.”

The fundraiser goal of $16,500 was earmarked for field trips, the Reflections contest, Red Ribbon Week and other PTA activities, Principal Nicole Svee Magann said. As of Sept. 12, money still was coming in so a total wasn’t available, but Hadfield said they had exceeded their goal.

Another popular part of the jog-a-thon was preparing for the event. Enoch participated in the school run club that ran laps at lunchtime for one week preceding the race. During the week, Hadfield said students ran 1,300 miles.

Wood said that students who completed eight laps around the school field were entered into a drawing for prizes such as pencils, erasers, bouncy balls and other novelty items.

“I liked getting the bracelets from the run club,” Enoch said. “I like to run because I’m more active.”

His mother, Karissa, said her fifth-grade daughter Ruby held a bake sale that raised $55, which she contributed to the school fundraiser. Last year, Ruby and her older sister, Ella, raised almost $100 for the jog-a-thon holding a babysitting camp.

“It’s a much more effective fundraiser than selling items door-to-door,” Gardner said.

PTA treasurer Rebecca Hall said it’s a great experience for the students.

“It’s not only great exercise for the kids, it’s a great fundraiser for the PTA because we receive 100 percent of the funds,” she said.

Her youngest daughter, McKenzie, ran with her kindergarten class. Kindergartners ran around the school field instead of the canal path and received high-fives from the Altara Kittyhawk and Alta High hawk mascots.  

McKenzie, who raised $41.50 for the jog-a-thon, said her class ran around the field to practice for the run. She also plays soccer, does gymnastics and bikes in her neighborhood.  

After the jog-a-thon, students walked through the new PCV-pipe water mister made by the Wood family.

“I like the mist because it helps me cool down,” McKenzie said.

An Oct. 5 assembly to award top fundraisers as well as recognize the fastest runners is planned, with prizes ranging from books, Kindles and sports balls to Utah Jazz tickets and American Girl dolls, Wood said. RSL players also will be there to give students prizes they autographed, Hadfield said.

Svee Magann said this year’s run encouraged students to get active as part of the school’s focus with recently being selected a Utah Department of Transportation focus school on health and exercise.

“We encourage students to get out and walk, bike, skateboard or scooter to school,” she said about the school that maintains community support for its participation in UDOT programs and also participates in the No Idle Canyons School District campaign.

The school also recently received the USDA Healthier Schools Award — bronze level recognition — for promoting healthy choices for breakfast and lunch as well as having a solid physical education exercise program.

“This fundraiser promotes healthy lifestyles to raise money because the students are up and moving instead of selling gift wrap and candy,” Svee Magann said.

Hadfield said the event was successful not only because of the amount raised and helping get the students fit, but also because of the contributions of volunteers. About 75 volunteers, including Alta High School student body officers, Alta High hawk, Sandy Police and Kohl’s department store as well as parents who stepped up for the day as well as served on the committee, helped the PTA board for the event.

“We have a great committee and board and we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s help,” she said.