Fundraising has never been more fun for Sharp Park Academy elementary school students.

This year, instead of selling candy bars, coupon books or gift wrap to benefit their school, the students collected sponsorships for an obstacle course they spent the day running Friday, Oct. 4.

“This is awesome,” said 9-year-old fourth-grader Demarion Smith. “I’ve run it like five times.”

The SPAbstacle Course, hosted by the school’s Parent Teacher Organization, netted about $9,600, which will be used for upgrades to playground equipment and the purchase of educational tools and project materials, said Ben Lasky, a parent who helped organize the event.

Salco sponsors this fundraising event.

“The really great thing is that 100 percent of what we raised goes to the school,” Lasky said. “It’s been easier to do and more effective.”

The course, which included running, jumping and crawling, also encouraged kids to get outside and play, Lasky said.

“We need to get them away from the video games,” Lasky said. “This is a fun way to promote exercising, too.”

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The project started with $1,000 in seed money donated by Eaton Corp., Lasky said. Donations, noted by signs along the course, also came in from about 35 Jackson-area businesses, he said.

“A lot of people just contributed what they could,” Lasky said. “Whether it was a nickel or $1,000, we appreciated everything. A lot of parents also have dedicated time to the school and that’s a really important part of this, too.”

Running the course was a lot more fun that going door-to-door selling things, said 9-year-old fourth-grader Makenzie Ryan.

“This teaches you how to be active and be healthy at the same time,” she said.

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On Friday evening, parents were invited to come out and run the course with their children. And because students topped their $6,000 fundraising goal, a team of teachers and Sharp Park Academy Principal Jennifer Oswalt agreed to race each other on a shaving cream-covered slide on the playground.

“I’m in awe of what our parents and children have done,” Oswalt said. “This fundraising is very important to us. It provides author visits and special assemblies and extra things for our students.”

Fitness, Fundraising Part of Unique SPAbstacle Course at Sharp Park Academy
By Leanne Smith
October 07, 2013