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South Jordan Journal

South Jordan Elementaries Lace Up Shoes For Jog-a-thons

Nov 12, 2015 01:54PM ● By Julie Slama

By Julie Slama

 Three South Jordan elementary schools have their shoes ready as students try to raise funds for their schools through running.

At Jordan Ridge Elementary, Assistant Principal Tiffany Cookie ran every lap with every grade during tracks A and B’s “Mission Impossible” jog-a-thon Aug. 26, before she realized she had sprained her ankle.  Now, sidelined, Principal Cathy Anderson may have to put on her running shoes for track C and D’s Sept. 16 run.

 “If I’m running, I may just run a lap with each grade or maybe I’ll mist them with water to keep them cool while running,” she said.

 Students, however, will be seeing how many ¼-mile laps they can run to help raise the goal of $26,000, which would match last year’s run.

 The funds would be used for Parent-Teacher Association activities such as Reflections, teacher appreciation week, field trips and other needs, Anderson said.

 “This is a great fundraiser since the students don’t have to sell anything; they’re just asking their family, friends and neighbors for donations.  We found over the years that we do better financially, parents support it more and there’s not as many headaches searching for lost cookie dough or wrapping paper if we hold a jog-a-thon,” she said.

 Parents come to volunteer or cheer on the students and some will join in running with their kids.  Staff and faculty will join in and fifth-grade teacher Tina Rothe has encouraged her class to run one mile each school day so already this year, the students have ran the equivalent of a marathon, Anderson said.

 Teachers also have been encouraging healthy eating and lifestyles, she said.  With the Farm Fresh program Jordan Ridge participates in, students are encouraged to eat fresh fruit and vegetables such as cantaloupe, broccoli, pears and cucumbers.

 On jog-a-thon day, a PTA volunteer leads students through warm-ups and after the run, students enjoy fruit, popsicles and water.  After collecting their pledge money, the PTA awards prizes including giant teddy bears, skateboards, science supplies and books to students who are the top finishers in both number of laps run as well as amount of money donated.

 “It’s a fun event that encourages our students to be healthy and helps raise funds for activities in the school,” Anderson said.

 Neighboring elementary, South Jordan, also will have students put on running shoes for a Sept. 16 jog-a-thon as two tracks will run around the playground for 20 minutes.  The other two tracks will run on Oct. 7.  This year’s run matches the PTA theme of “Let the Adventure Begin.”

 “It’s 1/10th of one mile so we’ll have students run as many laps as they can,” Principal Ken Westwood said, who plans to run with each grade.  “I’ve run five half-marathons in the three years I’ve been principal here by running during the jog-a-thons.”

 Through the school district sound system, students will warm up and run to music, each wearing a PTA-designed shirt.  During the run, families come to help and give high-fives.  Afterward, the student in each grade who brings in the most money for tracks A and B as well as tracks C and D  is treated to a limousine ride to Olive Garden to have lunch with Westwood.

 The school goal is $25,000, of which $15,000 is earmarked for field trips, Westwood said. 

 “It’s the whole PTA budget and the only fundraiser of any kind we do all year.  It pays for all our arts programs, safety and emergency supplies, ribbon weeks, recognition weeks and last year, when they exceeded the goal, it helped pay for technology such as laptops and iPads,” he said.

 Through the jog-a-thon, Westwood contends his school benefits more, both from physical activity and from donations.

 “Everyone agrees this is better than selling things,” he said.

 At Elk Meadows, the second annual jog-a-thon is underway, with tracks A and B having run with parents and faculty on Aug. 26 and tracks C and D will run Sept. 16.

 The music was playing and the energy was high,” Elk Meadows Parent-Teacher Association President Dakota Redford said.  “The principal gave little sips of water and ice cubes to kids. Parents and volunteers sprayed them with water, cheered them on and marked their laps on their shirts for them.  Kids ran their little hearts out, with more than 10,000 laps run by students and staff. We wrapped it up with snow cones. It was a very successful day.”