Nearly 500 students from first through fifth grade participated in the school's annual Walk-a-Thon Friday to raise money for equipment, Arcadia Educational Foundation Summer School Scholarships and Summer Bridge Books.
For 30 minutes, students joyously walked, skipped, hopped, and even ran with their friends, teachers, principal and parents supporting them either on the sidelines or beside them on the road. Students received pledges from parents and family members either at a determined rate for each lap they complete, or simply a lump sum of money just for walking.
Acutely aware of the , students were motivated to walk and fill up their lap tally sheets. Fifth-grader Geena Kim, a student in Ms. Melinda McGrath’s class, said that although “It is kind of tiring,” she was willing to walk for 50 cents per lap from her dad and 25 cents per lap from her mom to help her school district.
Similarly, fellow classmate Adam Pon whose mom, dad, grandmother and grandfather were donating to the cause said, “It’s raising money for school next year for better supplies,” which was reason enough for his excitement, on top of getting to walk on the street, a first for the event.
To keep all the class grades and students unified and to shorten the time taken from the classroom, the walk was taken off its usually grassy field of the school and onto the big street. , , and Arcadia Public Works Services Department supported the cause by blocking off streets with barricades around the school for students to safely walk around.
Although in it's 10th year, the revenue generated from this year’s Walk-a-Thon, expected to be around $3,000 to $4,000, is especially crucial. When district funding through the state was available, Hugo Reid offered summer school programs, but thanks to the budget cuts, this summer the first through fifth grade programs have been cut and now only the kindergarten program will be offered.
“We used to identify the students who are struggling and provide the summer program for free and the teachers from our school actually taught it, but this year they cut all that out,” said Julie Jilizian, who's in her fourteenth year as a second-grade teacher.
In raising money for the Summer Bridge Books, which are workbooks that either review skills of the previous grade or prepare for new skills of the next grade, students who need the extra help over summer have something to work through in preparation for the next school year and do not have to worry about cost. Five hundred dollars raised at Friday's walk-a-thon will go to the books.
Money will also go to AEF Scholarships which will help fund summer school for students who need it. AEF determines who receives the scholarships and usually a total of five are given out. The rest of the money allocation will be determined by the Hugo Reid Student Council.
And it's not just money the walk-a-thon raises, but also a sense of school spirit and community.
“I look forward to it every year. I think it’s a great way to get the kids involved and take pride in their school and work together to raise money for supplies and equipment and all the things we need to keep our school going, especially under the circumstances,” Jilizian said.
Parent volunteer Jessie Garcia, busy tallying the kids' laps while handing orange slices and water bottles out to the walkers, was also pleased with the event.
“It’s great that they’re raising money on their own and that they’re getting exercise at the same time."