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School fundraisers get creative

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Students at St. Mary-Basha in Chandler took part in the fourth annual "Eaglethon" Nov. 16, bringing in $106,000 which combined with sponsors’ gifts brought the total to $132,000.

Students at St. Mary-Basha in Chandler took part in the fourth annual “Eaglethon” Nov. 16, bringing in $106,000 which combined with sponsors’ gifts brought the total to $132,000. (J.D. Long-Garcia/CATHOLIC SUN)

Students at Catholic schools around the Phoenix Diocese walked, jogged, read and computed their way toward fundraising goals last month.

At St. Mary-Basha in Chandler, students took part in the fourth annual ‘Eaglethon’ Nov. 16, bringing in $106,000 which combined with sponsors’ gifts brought the total to $132,000.

Bailey Freed, chair of the Olympic-themed event, dressed up in a tutu, power monkey socks and pompom slippers to motivate the kids, visiting their classrooms to give pep talks.

“Some of the prizes are the students getting to be teacher of the day, having free dress for a week or even lunch with their favorite teacher,” Freed said.  “This year we have 20 students having lunch with Fr. Dan McBride and 20 students having lunch with the new principal, Sister Thelma.”

The 480 students enrolled in the school began the day gathered on the basketball court and attempted to break two Guinness Book of World Records. The first challenge was to simultaneously spin the most tops while the second involved a massive game of patty-cake.

The school submitted the paperwork to see if students managed to break the world record, but Freed said they won’t know the results for months.

Students had spent weeks prior to the Eaglethon gathering pledges to walk, run, read or compute their way toward goals. Diane Meza, assistant principal, said the success of the fundraiser was a tribute to former principal Sr. Mary Norbert Long, SC, who came up with the idea as well as Sr. Thelma Anubalu, IHM, who kept it going.

“It’s amazing when a Catholic community gets together, the miracles they can accomplish,” Meza said. “For one fundraise, it’s phenomenal.”

At Bourgade Catholic High School, students participated in a Nov. 9 walk-a-thon to raise money for the school’s operating budget. They received a 2012 walk-a-thon T-shirt and were asked to write to five family members or friends to seek donations.

The students’ efforts raised $46,000.

Joann Siebenman, advancement director for Bourgade, said the annual fundraiser has been a tradition at the school for more than 20 years.

Funds raised in the walk-a-thon will be used to complete wireless access on campus, provide financial assistance to students and fund the school’s annual mission trip to the San Carlos Indian Reservation to build homes for families in need.

“We build homes for families that are homeless,” Siebenman said. “Funds raised from the walk-a-thon give every student an opportunity to help build those homes whether they go on the mission trip or not.”

Ss. Simon and Jude School held its annual jog-a-thon Nov. 16. Diane Stein, office manager, said the event has taken place at the school since the mid-1980s. She said that so far, students have been able to raise just under $25,000.  Jog-a-thon proceeds will be used for special programs like Spanish, music, after school sports and technology.

“It’s something the students look forward to every year because they can participate in raising money for the school—it’s not just their parents,” Stein said. “The different classes compete against each other to try to get 100 percent participation. It’s a good, healthy competition.”

At St. Gregory Catholic School, students jogged their way toward fundraising goals. All 305 students at the school participated in the event that took place the day before the Thanksgiving holiday.

Maureen DeGrose, principal, said the Nov. 21 jog-a-thon raised money for curriculum. Students who raised at least $50 were given a T-shirt. One student’s father is a disc jockey and plays music to motivate participants.

“The kids bring sack lunches and we have a picnic. It’s a great community builder,” DeGrose said. “The parents come in to help.”

St. Gregory students raised about $10,000  in the jog-a-thon. The money will help purchase resources as the school switches over to common core standards.

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