NORMAN — Zipping round a cone-marked field, sweaty but happy Eisenhower Cougars pounded their feet to pop songs in an attempt to run laps and raise money for new outdoor classrooms.
The Eisenhower Elementary PTA hosted a jog-a-thon, or Ike-a-thon, for the first time as its fall fundraiser Tuesday. Teachers, students and parents partook in a health-focused fundraiser that got children outside and exercising.
Assistant Principal Brittaney Venk said the response from teachers and parents had been amazing even before the day was over and the totals were counted. Music and an emcee kept kids enthusiastic, while students in different grade levels ran for 20 minutes in an allotted hour, approximately 250 yards per lap.
Venk said what really kept students going was the overall fun of the event and possible prizes.
“If the kids reach our goal (of money raised), then me and Mrs. Powell, the principal, have agreed to kiss a pig. The kids have been talking nonstop about that,” Venk said.
Stephanie Clinton, Eisenhower PTA secretary, said prizes also would go to the top boy and girl money earners for the entire school and the top runner from each grade level, as well as prizes for drawings.
Clinton said the PTA’s goal was to raise more than $10,000 to build an outdoor classroom and fund other school projects.
Parent volunteers said they were motivated to help with the fundraiser beyond money and prizes.
“We’ve wanted to do something that’s an activity and (is) healthy. I’m happy with the jog-a-thon. The kids are getting exercise while raising money,” said Tanya Ingels, a volunteer and mother of two Eisenhower students.
Students’ excitement for the jog-a-thon has been building for weeks.
“He (Drew) told me that he was up at 2 in the morning because he was so excited,” Drew Testerman said about his son, RJ.
Third-grade students said they still were having fun as the minutes ticked by and the track became hotter.
With 17 laps as the midday record, Isaiah Salonus, from Mrs. Krattiger’s classroom, said he was focused on his goal and he thought he would achieve it.
“I’ve already done seven laps. I think I can do 10,” Salonus said.
Sponsors of the jog-a-thon included Agility Medical Group, Derryberry Chiropractic, Kidoodles Toy Zone, Norman Endoscopy Center, Norman Family Dentist Dr. Randall Venk, Republic Bank and Trust, Hallbrooke, Next Level Fitness Studio, Pathology Consultation Services, ServPro of Norman, Switzer’s Locker Room, UB Home Team, Physicians and Surgeons Pharmacy and Walden Cleaners.
After pushing themselves to the max, students gulped down water while breathing heavily, but they were still all smiles. Hanah Fields, a third-grader from Mrs. Wise’s class, said running was worth it and that she had accomplished more laps than her original goal.
“I ran 14 laps,” Fields exclaimed, grinning ear-to-ear, adding that she would enjoy doing the event again.