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Walk-a-thon raises money for Hedden Elementary School

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What started out as a walk-a-thon quickly escalated into a high-energy hop-skip-jump-dance-run-a-thon at Hedden Elementary School, when on March 13 students from 2nd-grade on up to 5th-grade thoroughly enjoyed this day of fundraising fun. With the theme “Chasing a Pot of Gold” giving a nod to St. Patrick’s Day, the little runners did just that in quickly-paced laps around the school. Glittery green shamrocks hung from tree branches to mark the route and green glitter lit the way on the sidewalks.

“I wanted them to feel like they were walking in fields of clovers,” said Krissie Carl, a Fife Schools para-substitute and teacher’s aide who led the organizing for Hedden’s 2015 PTA Walk-a-Thon. All of the donations the students collected from their friends, neighbors and family will go back into the school to help out those students who can’t afford to attend 5th-grade camp and for grants for whatever teachers may need in their classrooms.

A walk-a-thon was held this past October at Discovery Primary School a well, and the little student fundraisers did a whopping job of raising a little over $36,000. “At Discovery we were able to buy 30 iPads for the kindergarten classes,” Carl said. “I was very lucky to work hand and hand with Kara Rogers, our Discovery Primary PTO President. The group of parents we have at Discovery are amazing. We all work well together and have come friends outside of school.” Carl gave a big thank you to Kara Rogers, Kim Yee, Ian and Brishan Hamilton, Michele Hirata, Leanna Bennett, Morgan Terry, Christina Banham and Jessica Connaway along with many more parents for helping cheer on the kids running.

And just like at Discovery, at Hedden one child from each grade could win a bike and a helmet for raising the most money.

Carl said WalMart in Federal Way gave a 15 percent discount off of the cost of the bikes and the helmets were donated by East Pierce Fire and Rescue in Bonney Lake.

“We are still counting our donations and hope to have a final count by the end of the week and know who our bike winners are,” Carl said. 

Before heading out on their laps, classes of students gathered for a group photo courtesy of parent volunteers Ian and Brishan Hamilton. It wasn’t hard to get a big smile on the students’ faces, as Ned the talking cactus from the Surprise Lake Taco Time brought laughter and squeals the minute the students laid eyes on him. Ned – a.k.a. Kyle Maxwell – was a big hit as he danced around, cheered the walkers on and revved up their energy. “It’s fun coming out here, interacting with the kids,” he said. “They enjoy seeing a cartoon character brought to life and they get to interact with me and have fun chasing each other around.”

Acting as Ned’s “handler” was Caitlyn Byce, manager of the Surprise Lake Taco Time, which donated all the water for both Discovery’s and Hedden’s walk-a-thons. Byce and Maxwell, as Ned, often take part in Fife Schools’ events and local parades. The daughter of William and Laura Byce, who opened their Taco Time franchise in the early 1980s, Caitlyn Byce said she gets a real kick out of giving back to the community she’s known since she was a kid and hanging out at Taco Time.

“I grew up going there all the time so it’s fun doing stuff in the community because we’ve kind of watched it grow.”

Carl thanked parents Melody DiMaggio, Kimberly Yee, Susan Philbrick, Kara Rogers, “along with many of our other wonderful Hedden families that came to support the kids walking/running,” she said.