Meneley students put the sunshine in fundraiser |

Meneley students put the sunshine in fundraiser

by Scott Neuffer

The east field of Meneley Elementary School blazed with school spirit Friday morning as more than 650 students, staff, parents and volunteers moved their legs for the school’s second annual Walking on Sunshine Walkathon.

Organized by the parent-teacher organization, the event featured a hydration table for each class, where students kept track of their laps for the purpose of awarding raffle tickets.

“This is our PTO’s only fundraiser,” said Meneley Principal Becky Rugger. “This is how the PTO gets money to support extra student activities.”

Those activities include the invention convention, assemblies, scholarships and other educational activities, Rugger said.

Each student obtained monetary sponsors for the event, and every $10 raised earned them a raffle ticket. The big prizes, however, were the 14 bikes and helmets donated by City National Bank and the Minden Rotary Club, later awarded to the boy and girl in each grade level who raised the most money.

Last year, the walkathon generated approximately $17,000.

“It’s all about school spirit, keeping it simple and having a good time,” said PTO President Manya Brooks. “There was a lot of excitement for the walkathon this year.”

Parent volunteer Skip Brown moderated the event with the help of DJ Augie Gallegos. Physical education instructor Ellen Lucas led stretches and warm-up exercises before students began their laps.

“It’s all about encouraging fitness and a healthy lifestyle,” Brooks said.

A strong, windless September sun helped the walkathon live up to its name, although students didn’t merely walk on sunshine – they ran, jogged, skipped and danced.

Second-grader Jose Saldana, 8, took a quick water break before heading out again.

“I wish we could do this every day,” he said, “because it’s fun.”