BEEVILLE – Students poured from under the pavilion at St. Mary’s Academy Charter School.
The race was won — to raise money.
Betty Hinkle, coordinator of the school’s Race for Education benefit Thursday, said that, so far, the children have raised $18,000 to build a new playground at the campus.
The program is similar to a walk-a-thon held by many organizations.
The children all submitted the names of people they thought would donate. Then volunteers from the school addressed the letters and sent them out — all 3,500 of them.
“Each student took home a page of address labels,” she said. “When we got the labels back, we still had to address the letters.”
“We invited family and friends to join us in helping to raise funds for our student activity fund, which includes awards, field trips and playground equipment,” the letter reads.
It took three weeks to get the letters mailed.
Hinkle was elated with the amount in donations that have come in so far.
“I have had a good community turnout,” she said. “We are hoping we will have some big company that wants a tax right-off.”
They are accepting donations through the end of December, so they still have plenty of time to reach their lofty goal of $100,000.
The donation drive from family and friends wasn’t their only source of funds for this effort.
Each grade is also in competition to see how many coins they can collect.
The winning grade gets a day off from instruction.
That amount so far is $2,900. Nearly all of the coins were counted by First National Bank of Beeville.
Hinkle said that unfortunately this year, not all of the money will go toward the school. A portion will go back to the company for its work in helping prepare the letters.
She hopes to do it all in house next year to avoid the loss of funds.
Despite that loss, she still expects to raise more than they have in the past with cookie and door-to-door sales.
Part of the fun for this fundraiser is that the parents get to come out and watch their youngsters walk, run and play for an hour.
“The parents get to spend time with them during the day,” she said.
Many parents and grandparents watched on the sidelines while the youngsters raced around the play area of the school, smiling and enjoying the cool breeze that siphoned through the open pavilion.
Games were played by the youngsters as the walk went on. After an hour, their stroll was over, but by then, the next grade was ready, and the walk continued.
Jason Collins is the editor at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 121, or at editor@mySouTex.com.