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November 14, 2007 > March of the Gophers

March of the Gophers

Submitted By Arathi Satish
Photos By Arathi Satish

The first March of the Gophers Walk-A-Thon at John Gomes Elementary School took place on Friday, Nov. 2. It was a spectacular event in which 864 students and more than 100 adults participated.

The walk-a-thon event was a perfect fit with the environmentally friendly school theme "Gomes goes Green". While unifying the school, it provided a healthy activity for the students and an opportunity for parents to get involved on campus. This PTA sponsored event was the brainchild of two hard working PTA board members, Serena Tan and Stella Hsu.

Christina Broadwin, Co-president of Gomes PTA, stated, "We didn't want to just ask for money, sell more cookies or gift wrap. We were looking for something that both students and parents could stand behind and be proud of." Broadwin further said that, "Whenever you get 96 percent of students participating in something, you know that you have really found an event that people want to rally around."

Mr. Whipple, Principal, and Mr. Nelson, Vice Principal, supported the event by providing fun incentives for the students. If they walked 2000 laps, the principals would have a foot race in clown shoes dressed as gophers; if they walked 3,000 laps, they would both wear their pajamas for a full day and work from the rooftop.

The teachers and parents supported the students enthusiastically. The number of students who wanted to participate increased steadily to about 864 students, parents, grandparents, and community members. Volunteers, some of whom did not even have their kids in the school, supported the cause.

A colorful display of balloons, bubbles and music provided a fun-filled and exciting atmosphere. As each grade arrived for their 20 minute time slot, they were entertained by DJ. Jim Ferguson of Satellite Entertainment Productions. At the end of the day, students had completed an amazing 6,410 laps, easily overtaking their goal of 3000 laps - each lap approximately a quarter of a mile in length. Students walked 1,602 miles, the distance from Fremont to Dallas, Texas!

The budget goal was also exceeded by $6,832. A grand total of $17,832 was reached, Serena Tan, one of the event organizers said, "The best part of the day was seeing the students, teachers and parents walking, jogging, and running together excitedly around the field. The expressions on their faces really said it all and the hard work beforehand really paid off."

Meredith Mathiesen, a 3rd grade teacher at Gomes Elementary, said, "This was the best event Gomes has ever done!" Marilyn Williams, Co-President of the Gomes PTA added that she was "Most impressed by how the event provided a healthy activity where participants could engage at whatever level was most comfortable for them. They could walk, jog or run and this variety was very inclusive and made the event something that appealed to all ages."

Funds received will be used for a wide variety of PTA programs. New programs including a family movie night and multicultural events week will help to build and strengthen the diverse Gomes community. Additionally, the Gomes PTA is planning to purchase a defibrillator for the nurse's room.

The principals, happy that the event turned out to be such a great success, took part in the foot race and spent a day on the roof Friday, Nov. 9.

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