SMITHFIELD—Birch Creek, Summit and Sunrise elementary schools raised $35,000 at their third annual Tri School Trot, a fundraising run for the three schools.
Prior to the Sept. 14 event, students from each school went door to door to ask neighbors, friends and family for money pledges for each lap they walked or ran around the Sky View High School track.
Despite the heat, students, teachers and parents queued up behind the starting line of the track wearing brightly colored T-shirts that corresponded with their respective elementary school. At the sound of the horn, the first wave of more than 300 individuals broke through the crepe-paper starting ribbon and started their first laps around the track.
“Before this event the elementary schools would hold cookie dough sales or pizza sales to raise money,” said Becky Nielson, one of the PTA co-chairs at Birch Creek Elementary. “Only a small portion of that money would actually go back into the schools. But people don’t go to those fundraisers because they want cookie dough or pizza; they go to help their schools. That’s why this fundraiser is so fantastic—100 percent of the money raised here stays in the schools.”
Nielson originally proposed the idea for the fundraiser four years ago as an event just for Summit Elementary School. The next year Birch Creek Elementary was built and all of Smithfield’s elementary schools switched to a K-5 system. With the help of the rest of the PTA, Nielson then proposed the fundraiser be expanded to include all three elementary schools.
“This event just keeps growing,” Nielson said. “Now it’s an event for the whole community.”
According to Toni Gibbons, the PTA co-chair at Sunrise Elementary, participation in the event has risen in every school by about 30%.
“This has been a phenomenal year,” Gibbons said. “It’s really a big deal. I mean there are already so many people here watching and participating, and this isn’t even half of the people who will end up coming.”
Not only has participation increased, but overall money raised has also gone up over the years. Tiffany Barfuss, PTA president at Summit Elementary, said last year their school earned about $5,800. This year, they have earned nearly $10,000.
The money raised will go toward different programs and needs within each school, including wireless towers at Sunrise and classroom computers at Birch Creek.
With prizes and equipment donated to the Tri School Trot by local businesses and companies, Gibbons said the event essentially paid for itself.
“We really don’t have any big expenses,” Gibbons said. “So everything we make can go straight into the schools.”
“This is such a big deal because people can see us take their dollars and put it right back into the valley—building up our schools and the community,” Nielson said. “It’s a lot more work than cookie dough, but it’s worth it.”