Cloudland Elementary students raise $12k with Highlander Hike

Published 5:59 pm Sunday, October 16, 2016


After a lot of hard work helping to raise money for their school, the students at Cloudland Elementary were treated to a day outdoors with The Highlander Hike.
This marks the second year the school has hosted the Highlander Hike as a way to not only raise money for the school but to also promote physical activity among the students, staff and their families, said Principal Becky Raulston. This year, the students raised around $12,000 to help their school fund needed improvements that aren’t covered in the budget by the school system.
The Highlander Hike was created as an alternative way to raise money for the school without turning to traditional fundraisers where the students sell items in the community.
“We needed to have a fundraiser, but I didn’t want the students selling items because the profit margin is so small,” Raulston said. “My idea was to have the kids talk to their parents, their grandparents, their aunts and uncles and other relatives and ask for a donation. No strangers though, that was a very important concept we talked about.
“It raises a lot of money and it takes the burden off of the families to sell stuff,” she added.
Each child was given a goal of raising $25 in donations.
Raulston said the teachers also took advantage of the chance to work on math skills, asking the students questions such as how many $5 donations they would need to meet their goal.
“We also wanted to take advantage of the fact we are right next to Roan Mountain State Park,” Raulston said.
For the Highlander Hike, Raulston and school staff sought sponsorships throughout the community from local businesses and residents. Each sponsor who donated $100 was listed on the back of the official 2016 Highlander Hike T-shirt.
“That helps with our overhead, our T-shirts, and our prizes so that what the kids raise is pure profit,” Raulston said.
To take part in the event, students had to raise at least $10. If they raised $50 they earned a free Highlander Hike T-shirt.
“We’ve had a couple of kids raise in excess of $1,000,” Raulston said.
In addition to helping their school, the students also got the chance to compete for prizes.
“For every $10 they raise, I give them a ticket and they put their name on it and it goes in a box for a door prize drawing,” Raulston said, adding local businesses and residents donated a lot of different door prizes for the students. “The top raiser gets a crisp, new $100 bill.”
On Friday, the students loaded buses at Cloudland Elementary early in the morning and rode to Roan Mountain State Park for a day of fun outdoor activities. The students hiked on various trails, played field games and took turns on the playground near the Park’s campground.
The school system’s Food Services department provided the students with an outdoor picnic lunch at the park.
The Highlander Hike is one of Raulston’s favorite events to do with the students and staff.
“I like it because everyone goes — the custodians, the cooks, the secretary, everyone,” Raulston said. “We shut her down for the day.”
Organizing the event takes a lot of work, Raulston said.
“We have a parent club that is very active in this. The teachers are so supportive and willing to do anything for our kids,” she said. “The Rangers and the folks up here at the park have been so supportive of us. Missy (Ward) at the bus garage has helped us out a lot and so has Lindsey Feathers in Food Services.
“It takes a village to pull something like this off,” she added.
Last year, the school used the money raised during the Hike to help upgrade the school’s physical education equipment and facilities as well as completing some technology upgrades and working on the school’s library.
This year, Raulston said the funds will mainly be focused on technology improvements and books for both the main school library and the individual classroom libraries.

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