Notre Dame walkathon raises money for playground

By Ryan Ottney

October 26, 2013

Ryan Scott Ottney

PDT Staff Writer

Students from Notre Dame Elementary put one foot in front of the other Friday morning to help raise money for their school playground. As a result of their hard work, the school exceeded its goal and raised more than $10,000 in just a week.

“Our new playground structure was put in in 1998. It just needs refurbished and updated, that kind of thing. So I had a teacher come to me last week and one of her nephews does a fundraiser walkathon and they raised about $50,000. I said, well I don’t know if we can do that but we aimed high and set our goals at $10,000. We sent notes home last (week) Thursday or Friday, and as of yesterday (Thursday) we exceeded our goal,” said Elementary Principal Ann Kempf.

Students were asked to collect donations of at least $25 to participate in the walkathon at Spartan Stadium in Portsmouth on Friday. The students arrived at the stadium in smaller groups. Kindergarten and 6th grade study buddies walked first for five laps; then grades 1-3 did six laps, and finally grades 4-5 walked eight laps around the stadium. Preschool students also participated by walking laps around the inside of the school on Thursday. As they finished a lap, teachers waited at the finish line to stamp students hands to keep track of how many laps they’ve walked.

With the money they raised, the school will purchase a new swing set and mulch, and in the spring the school will plant a memorial vegetable garden in the playground in memory of Boston Schwamberger who attended Notre Dame School and passed away this summer.

After only a week of fundraising, the walkathon was so successful for Notre Dame Elementary that Kempf said they will probably do it more often.

“We did this in a week, so if we had a month or six weeks to get those pledges, we could double or, I don’t know. I can’t wait to tell the kids. It’s been a very good project,” Kempf said.

But next year, she said, they’ll probably do it in the spring when the weather is warmer.

Ryan Scott Ottney may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or For breaking news, follow Ryan on Twitter @PDTwriter.