2022-09-23 20:07:27 By : Mr. Duncan Zhang

Bret Harte Elementary School held their annual Apex Fun Run fundraiser on Thursday morning.  The two-week long program was lead by the Apex Leadership Co. who kicked off the events with a school pep rally on September 13th. The fundraiser is anticipated to bring in over $60,000 to help support the school’s STEAM program, music, fine arts and more.

Apex runs a two-week program at the school that combines education, fitness, leadership, and fundraising while building relationships and having fun. Before the run, the Apex team members provide team days where they hang out with the students on campus at lunch, recess and PE, and visit classrooms to pass out bracelets with the message of the day.  Leadership lessons are taught in the class and this year’s messages and bracelet words included: fearless, adapt, realize, talk em up, care and original.

“Apex provides an engaging motivational platform for our Students that they genuinely get excited about. Our faculty, staff, and school community are equally engaged during the two-week long event,” said Johanna Schofield. Schofield is a parent at the school who volunteers as the Vice President of the Fundraising Committee, the STEAM chair, and organizes the Apex Fun Run. “The program provides an equitable opportunity for all of our students to participate in both motivational and physical activities.”

Last year Bret Harte brought in over $77,000 and the money collected helps to cover costs for many of their programs and school activities. Harte’s STEAM rotations are fully supported by the fun run which includes four weeks of hands-on gardening, six weeks of dance with a final school performance, four weeks of photography lessons for 4th and 5th graders, and four weeks of modern art for grades TK-3rd.

Other programs the funds helps to support is their 21 weeks of music education and classroom supplies.  Last year’s Apex fun run had money left over to provide the school with a new ceramics kiln, STEAM room supplies, five new garden beds, and a Spring give-back event for students and families.

“We have a very diverse and creative school community, and our volunteers have dedicated themselves to provide extended learning opportunities in addition to what’s provided by the school and the district,” added Schofield. “We believe this stimulates our student’s creativity and produces a well-rounded experience at our school. These programs may also kickstart a future career, hobby, educational interest, and stronger ties to our community involvement.”

This year the Fundraising Committee hopes to use the extra money to renovate the library and expand the art and photography program from four weeks to six weeks. “This is our single biggest fundraiser for the school year. It fills a fundamental need in supporting access to the fine arts, sciences, and technology for all of our 587 students, TK through 5th grade,” said Schofield. “We are also able to give back a portion of the funds raised directly to the teachers to be used in their classrooms.”

The team days all led up to the final event that was held on Thursday, September 22nd.  Three tracks were set out with cones on the grass field and blacktop.  Each grade was separated onto different tracks and there were a total of three run events throughout the day to accommodate all grades.  Parent volunteers helped mark laps on the student’s t-shirts as they made their way around the track and passed out water cups to kids that didn’t have water bottles. Parents were able to watch a live stream of the event at home since parents not cleared as volunteers are still not allowed onto campus. Superintendent Matt Hill also stopped by before the run to say hello to the Apex team and Bret Harte volunteers.

Most students ended up completing the full 36 laps during the run and had so much fun running with their peers, teachers, and Apex leaders. During the two weeks leading up to the event, students asked their friends and family to give a flat donation or make a pledge per lap to support their school. “None of this would be possible without the dedicated support of our parents, faculty, and staff who have contributed to making this program the success it has become,” added Schofield.

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